Veteran names train to honour D-Day link with Portsmouth
A SECOND World War veteran has named a train in Portsmouth to honour the city’s part in the D-Day story.
Jimmy Ockendon, 97, served in the Royal Navy as a specialist mechanic during the war and said he was ‘over the moon' to unveil the South Western Railway train’s name – ‘The D-Day Story: Portsmouth’ – at a ceremony at Portsmouth Harbour train station earlier today.
The name is in recognition of Portsmouth’s contribution to the invasion of Nazi occupied Europe during the war, as well as the city being the home of The D-Day Story museum.
The train set off from London Waterloo with actors providing a reenactment of 1940s soldiers saying goodbye to their loved ones on the platform before heading off for operational duty.
Andy Mellors, Managing Director for South Western Railway, said: ‘So many of those who took part in the D-Day landings travelled from Waterloo down to Portsmouth, just as we have done today.
‘We have a very strong connection to the city of Portsmouth and this train-naming serves as a permanent reminder of the sacrifice made by those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.’
The train arrived in Portsmouth at 10am, where it was greeted by 80 Union Jack waving children from Fernhurst Primary School, as well as the Maritime Brass Ensemble playing a number of war-time classics.
Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Leader of Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘The D-Day Story tells the amazing story of what happened 75 years ago, in the place that was at the heart of the action - Portsmouth.
‘Having a train named after the museum is a wonderful way to start our commemoration of D-Day, at a time when so many people are making their way to our city for the anniversary.’