Chance for veterans to pay their respects

Veteran Dennis Bolter during a previous trip to Normandy.
Veteran Dennis Bolter during a previous trip to Normandy.
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A national armed forces charity is looking for all surviving D-Day veterans to take part in a series of special trips funded by HM Treasury.

Remembrance Travel, the travel arm of the Royal British Legion is keen to track down all the veterans of the Normandy landings as the Treasury is enabling a series of free-of-charge tours for them to return to France to pay their respects to their fallen comrades.

The tours are being funded with £4 million from Libor fines, and will enable a D-Day veteran to return with a family member and carer on a six-night tour.

The 2017 tours will take place in March, April, May and September and will give veterans - most of whom are now in their 90s - the chance to revisit the Normandy beaches, cemeteries and memorials. The tours will be accompanied by a medic and a guide from the Royal British Legion.

The visits will leave from London and will include Eurotunnel from Dover to Calais, accommodation, visits to Pegasus Bridge, Juno, Sword, Gold beaches, Arromanches,and war memorials as well as visits to personally specified cemeteries.

Phillip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to give nearly £4 million of Libor funds to support our D-Day Veterans wishing to return to Normandy with the Royal British Legion and other organisations in order to pay their respects to those who did not return home in 1944.

“It’s a token of our Nation’s immense debt of gratitude to those who gave so much both for our freedom and the freedom of Europe in the Second World War.”

Nichola Rowlands-Smith, of Remembrance Travel, said that previous veterans’ tours to Normandy have proved to be very moving but wonderful experiences for all.

She continued: “We’re really looking for the general public to help us find every single living D Day veteran.

“There’s no database of Normandy veterans, so we’re relying on the public, whether that be a grandchild, neighbour or carer to spread the word, so that we can offer these free tours to all D-Day survivors.”

Normandy veterans, or reltavies of veterans who wish them to benefit from this tour, should apply via Remembrance Travel’s tour operator Arena Travel by telephoning 01473 660800, or online at www.arenatravel.com/journeysofremembrance. Remembrance Travel will also be offering group travel opportunities for Normandy veteran associations.