1. ITV Report

British veterans overcome with emotion at thank you from the French city they liberated

D-Day veteran James Hagan was overcome by his "marvellous" reception. "Merci," he was told. Credit: ITV News

British veterans were cheered, applauded and told "merci" as they paraded through the streets of Bayeux today.

The city was one of the first to be liberated in France and its people have never forgotten.

ITV News correspondent Paul Davies witnessed the emotion of the veterans' return:

Some of the veterans were moved to tears by the reception they received from locals, many of whom also appeared emotional.

Len Bloomfield, formerly of the Royal Marines, described the occasion as "absolutely fantastic".

"Thank you to the people of Normandy - they are great," he said.

Some of the veterans had not returned to Bayeux since the D-Day landings. Credit: ITV News

Tom O'Neill, who was a Royal Navy medic during the landings, was back in Normandy for the first time in 70 years.

"It's a very special day," he said, adding: "It's probably the best day of my life."

Tom O'Neill said it was "probably the best day of my life". Credit: ITV News

Another veteran, 91-year-old Ron "Billy" Cotton, who was a second battalion fusilier, said he was determined to come to Bayeux despite spending the past three months bedridden in hospital.

Billy Cotton returned to Bayeux to remember old friends and lost comrades. Credit: Nicky Russell-Smith

After visiting the Bayeux cemetery where British soldiers are memorialised, Billy was wheeled through the streets where he high-fived children and shook hands with those in the crowd.

Determined Billy Cotton was thanked and applauded by the people of Bayeux. Credit: Nicky Russell-Smith

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