Captain of HMS St Albans tells of his pride at leading D-Day 75 salute to Normandy invasion veterans
THE captain of the Royal Navy frigate tasked with providing a guard of honour for hundreds of D-Day veterans has told of his pride at being selected to spearhead the tribute.
Commander John Cromie, commanding officer of HMS St Albans, was thrilled his ship and crew had been chosen to lead the Royal Navy fleet charged with honouring the Second World War heroes in June.
Portsmouth-based submarine-hunter St Albans will give a gun salute to the 300 veterans due to sail from Portsmouth on June 5 as part of the city’s historic D-Day 75 commemorations.
The war heroes will be leaving the city on MV Boudicca, a ship that’s been specially charted for the anniversary by the Royal British Legion.
Speaking of the honour, the naval officer said: ‘I’m extraordinarily proud that HMS St Albans will be part of the events associated with D-Day 75 and commemorating the landing that took place on the Normandy beaches.
‘This will be a massive moment for the UK and rightly so. These are men and women who have given an enormous amount in the defence of this country and its right we mark their sacrifice.’
Cdr Cromie said his crew was excited to take part in the event and were itching to give the veterans a fitting military send-off as they head across the Channel to France.
And he hoped that the people of Portsmouth would join in the commemorations and show their respects for the sacrifice of those who took part in the pivotal landings on June 6, 1944.
‘Portsmouth was integral to D-Day and to the success of D-Day,’ he said. ‘So it’s fitting that the city and its inhabitants also remember the importance of Portsmouth to D-Day itself.’
As revealed by The News today, the Royal Navy will be sending at least 11 warships into the Solent to form a guard of honour.
It comes as Portsmouth was named as the centre-piece of Britain’s anniversary commemoration of D-Day.