VETERANS from across Portsmouth were treated to a special visit to Fort Nelson yesterday to see the Poppies Wave monument.
The trip, organised by Age UK Portsmouth Joining Forces as part of a project to combat loneliness and isolation among elderly war heroes in the city, saw a host of retired servicemen and women gather at the symbolic location.
The impressive sculpture, moved from The Tower of London as part of a UK tour, has been installed to mark the centenary of the First World War.
Veterans admitted they were delighted to see the Wave. June Kent, 76, a former military police woman between 1959-61, said: ‘It’s been great – everyone has thoroughly enjoyed themselves. It’s a beautiful display which is very artistic and nostalgic. It’s brought back a lot of memories.
‘It’s an honour to have it here in Portsmouth rather than somewhere else. It shows the heritage we have here.’
Mike Longhurst, 78, who was a senior serviceman in the Far East for the Navy throughout much of the 1960s, said: ‘It’s been special to be here and see the Wave and remember the people who gave up their lives for us today.
‘It’s a very proud moment. We all served our country so it brings back a lot of memories for us all.’
Dave Ross, 85, who served with the Royal Hampshire Army, added: ‘My dad was in the First World War so it’s good to remember what he and lots of others went through. It’s been great to come out and see the Wave. We’ve all had a nice day.’
The Joining Forces Portsmouth service is for military veterans and their families which helps combat loneliness and social isolation by running social events such as popular monthly breakfast clubs and coffee afternoons.
Kandy Lucas, socialisation manager of the group, said: ‘We encourage veterans to engage with others within their community and offer a free befriending support for lonely or isolated military veterans and their dependants in Portsmouth and the surrounding area.
‘Through the combined work of Age UK Portsmouth Joining Forces team and our valued volunteers, we have had an amazingly successful first year.’
The group is marking its first year anniversary on June 29 at the Royal Beach Hotel.