D-Day 70: Portsmouth veterans attend ceremony in France

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VETERANS from the Portsmouth area were among 1,000 Second World War veterans at a D-Day commemoration ceremony in France today.

It was 70 years ago that many of them left Portsmouth on boats bound for the beaches of Normandy, including Sword Beach, which is where today’s major commemoration was held.

The Prince of Wales meets veterans. Picture: Tim Rooke/PA Wire

The Prince of Wales meets veterans. Picture: Tim Rooke/PA Wire

Sword Beach, in the town of Ouistreham, was the easternmost point of the D-Day invasion of occupied Europe.

The British 27th Armoured Brigade and the 3rd British Division were among the forces which landed there.

World leaders in attendance included the Queen, US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall were also present.

In a statement, French President François Hollande said: ‘Together, we shall spend the whole day celebrating the memory of those men and women, those soldiers, resistance fighters and civilians, who, through their acts of courage and sacrifice, made D-Day a victory for freedom.’

The sacrifices made by Allied troops who fought and died to free Europe from Nazi tyranny were honoured by the leaders.

Tributes were made to the elderly veterans who were in the stands watching, as well as their comrades who died fighting.

The spectacle was a highlight among many commemoration events taking place this week, including a drumhead ceremony, Royal Marine beach landing and Red Arrows display on Southsea Common.

Click here for details of the 70th anniversary supplement published by The News to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day