Joy as D-Day veterans reunite for weekend of activities in the city

VETERANS of the Second World War were reunited as they enjoyed a weekend of activities.

Monday, 2nd October 2017, 10:40 am
Updated Wednesday, 4th October 2017, 3:13 pm
Veteran standard-bearers march in front of Southsea Castle. Picture: Duncan Shepherd

More than 30 men and women who served in the armed forces during the Battle of Normandy came together for an annual celebration and time of remembrance.

The three-day event – comprising a gala dinner, a military display at Castle Fields and a commemorative service – was organised by the Spirit of Normandy Trust.

On Saturday, the veterans enjoyed live music, a parade and a high-octane aerial display from the Red Devils Parachute Regiment display team before settling down for dinner at Southsea Castle.

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One of the Red Devils comes in to land. Picture: Connor Waring

Among those attending was 95-year-old John Bracewell, who served in the British Army from the D-Day landings until the end of the war.

He said: ‘There is nothing better than seeing old faces like this and getting the chance to reminisce.

‘It’s difficult to describe what unfolded during the Second World War. We saw some nasty things but we saw some good things too.

‘But today, 73 years later, the people that put on this event for us are fantastic.’

One of the Red Devils comes in to land. Picture: Connor Waring

Alan Gullis, 93, worked on the temporary Mulberry Harbours constructed to rapidly transport cargo on to the beaches at Normandy during the invasion.

He said: ‘It’s wonderful to be here – this brings back a lot of old memories. It is very important that we remember what took place in Normandy through events like this.’

Angela Tait, 43 from the Spirit of Normandy Trust, was one of the organisers of the weekend reunion.

Speaking of its success this year, she said: ‘It has been amazing. I’ve got such passion for all of the veterans here.

‘To see them all smiling and catching up makes it worth every ounce of effort to get it together.

The legacy each and every one of them is leaving behind is so important.’