D-Day vets facing one big final push

This Is Wiltshire: Normandy veterans Bob Conway of Trowbridge, right, and Wally Beall  from Calne and their wives Gwen, centre right, and Jean will be making the trip to France, Normandy veterans Bob Conway of Trowbridge, right, and Wally Beall from Calne and their wives Gwen, centre right, and Jean will be making the trip to France,

Wiltshire veterans of the Second World War will be among hundreds travelling to the French battlefields in June to attend the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

Members of the Wiltshire branch of the Normandy Veterans’ Association will leave on June 4 for the event, which is expected to be the last big anniversary gathering due to dwindling numbers.

To mark the occasion, Normandy is organising an intensive programme of events commemorating D-Day and remembering those who fought and lost their lives in the battles which followed.

The official ceremony will take place on the afternoon of June 6 on Sword Beach, where heads of state including the Queen, US President Obama, French President Hollande and Chancellor Merkel will be in attendance.

Chairman of Wiltshire branch Bob Conway, 88, from Trow-bridge, served in the Royal Army Service Corps.

He said: “There will be a lot of people travelling to the event this year, including a lot of dignitaries, so it’s going to be a busy few days.

“It will be an emotional and proud occasion as it always is for us.

“People are always very thankful and last time I went a woman threw her arms around me and said thank you.

“It is important that people never forget what happened and this will probably be the last time everyone is able to travel to Normandy, so it will take on extra significance.”

As well as the service at Sword Beach, the veterans will also be attending memorial services at Bayeux Cathedral, Colville Montgomery and Arromanches.

Wally Beall, 90, who was in the Royal Navy and will also be attending, said: “It’s going to be a tiring few days as there is a lot planned, but it is an important commemoration and it will be emotional.”

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