D-Day 75: Rod Stewart serenades D-Day veterans who will attend Portsmouth ceremony

HUNDREDS of D-Day veterans who will attend the 75th anniversary ceremony in Portsmouth this week, have been serenaded by a superstar.

Monday, 3rd June 2019, 10:03 am
Updated Tuesday, 11th June 2019, 12:14 pm
Handout file photo dated 02/06/19 issued by Hello! of Rod Stewart with D-Day veteran Leonard Williams 93, who served in Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, aboard the MV Boudicca ahead of its departure from the port of Dover in Kent. Picture: Hello!/PA Wire

Sir Rod Stewart sang his 1975 classic Sailing as the group of World War Two heroes journeyed from Dover to Dunkirk yesterday. 

Dame Vera Lynn told them ‘we will never forget all you did for us’ ahead of a Royal British Legion cruise to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

The original Forces sweetheart, 102, was unable to be on the ship in person but recorded a voice message for hundreds of heroes on board the ship.

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Handout file photo dated 02/06/19 issued by Hello! of Rod Stewart with D-Day veteran Leonard Williams 93, who served in Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, aboard the MV Boudicca ahead of its departure from the port of Dover in Kent. Picture: Hello!/PA Wire

They were welcomed to the Port of Dover by a guard of honour and performances by the Dover Sea Cadet Band.

She told them: ‘Hello boys, Vera Lynn here. I wish you and your carers a memorable trip to Normandy.

‘It will be nostalgic and sure to bring back lots of memories. Rest assured we will never forget all you did for us.

‘I'm sending you all my best wishes for the trip.’

Sir Rod's performance was organised by Hello! magazine and photographed by his wife Penny Lancaster.

Sir Rod described the occasion as ‘so important’, telling the magazine: ‘If it wasn't for these guys we could well and truly be under the jackboot as everybody knows.’

Later, the Royal British Legion Band played as people cheered and waved flags to mark the ship's departure from Dover on Sunday night.

The veterans will have the opportunity to visit beaches in Dunkirk on Monday before watching a display by the Royal Navy in Poole Harbour on Tuesday.

They will attend the National Commemorative Event in Portsmouth on Wednesday before traveling to Normandy for events in Bayeux and Arromanches.

The ship returns to Portsmouth on Saturday before concluding its journey in Dover on Sunday.

Jim Docherty, 94, had not spoken of his role as an able seaman with the Royal Navy on D-Day until he was invited on the week-long voyage about five months ago.

‘I was on board the HMS Obedient, a destroyer,’ Mr Docherty, of Glasgow, said.

‘I've never been back to Normandy before. I never thought it would happen.’