D-Day veterans invited to catch ferry from Portsmouth to Normandy to commemorate historic event

Troops storming the Normandy beaches on D-Day.'Photo: PA
Troops storming the Normandy beaches on D-Day.'Photo: PA
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VETERANS are being encouraged to sign up for a ferry sailing to the beaches of Normandy to mark the 75th anniversary D-Day.  

The Royal British Legion is calling on communities, families and friends to ensure D-Day veterans are aware of the opportunity to commemorate this historic event.

D-Day commemorations from the 70th anniversary of the battle in Southsea in 2014

D-Day commemorations from the 70th anniversary of the battle in Southsea in 2014

The ferry has been commissioned to take up to 300 Normandy veterans in recognition of their heroic role in liberating France from German control. 

With 125 places still remaining, the Royal British Legion is keen for the ferry to be full so that as many veterans as possible get the recognition they deserve. 

Area director for Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Craig Spence said: ‘We believe it’s important that all veterans who contributed to the liberation of France and who want to attend the commemorations for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Portsmouth and Normandy are able to do so. We are delighted at the response we have received so far but we still have space for more veterans to join their comrades who shared in those challenging wartime experiences in 1944.’  

D-Day veteran George Skipper has already signed up for the voyage and feels it is important for him to return the battle scene to pay tribute to lost comrades.

MV Boudicca, which has been commissioned to transport veterans to Normandy from Portsmouth

MV Boudicca, which has been commissioned to transport veterans to Normandy from Portsmouth

‘I am delighted and proud to be going on The Royal British Legion’s voyage to Normandy. I would not miss this trip for anything. D-Day was a very important time in my life and I want to go back whilst I can, to remember and pay tribute to the friends and comrades that I lost. I hope that all D-Day veterans who are able to travel can join me on board the ship for this important voyage.’

Those taking part will be provided a comfortable and fully supported travel package including accommodation. 

The ferry will depart from Dover on June 2, taking in events in Poole and Portsmouth, before crossing the Channel to attend the commemorations taking place in Normandy on June 6. Local veterans can join the voyage in Portsmouth on June 5. 

Veterans interested in travelling on the ship are invited to contact the Legion for an application form, which can also be downloaded from their website. Each veteran will be entitled to free door-to-door travel for themselves and one guest or carer. 

Forms need to be returned by the new extended deadline of Monday March 4.

Mr Spence explained: ‘We don’t want anyone who wants to take part to be left behind. If you have a friend or family member who is a D-Day veteran, or indeed if you are one yourself, please get in touch with the Legion and find out how to be a part of this historic trip.’

Bob Gamble, also a representative of the Royal British Legion, added: ‘The veterans will be the VIP’s at this event and we will make sure their every need is catered for as they travel back to Normandy to take part in this landmark event.’

Veterans can contact Arena Travel with any questions about the boat on 01473 660 800 and apply for places via rbl.org.uk/dday75