Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

British veterans mark 71st anniversary of the D-Day landings

A veteran wipes his eye after attending the memorial service at Bayeux Cathedral. Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Heroes of the liberation of Europe have attended a ceremony in Normandy to remember the courage and sacrifices of their fellow World War II servicemen on the 71st anniversary of D-Day.

Around 150 British veterans crossed the Channel to honour their fallen comrades who helped to strike a decisive blow against the Nazis and bring freedom to Europe.

Ceremonies are being held in Arromanches and Bayeux. Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

In the past week, former troops - who are now in their late 80s and 90s - travelled to Normandy to return to the beaches, cemeteries and villages of northern France - some for the last time.

Today at a Royal British Legion-organised service at Bayeux Cathedral, servicemen stood shoulder-to-shoulder 71 years after Allied forces launched a combined naval, air and land assault on Nazi-occupied Europe, codenamed Operation Overlord.

'We thank you from the bottom of our hearts', veterans at the service were told. Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

The Reverend Patrick Irwin, the Royal British Legion chaplain to Normandy, told troops gathered, "We thank you from the bottom of our hearts".

"It was trust in their mates that really mattered. This trust bound men on the beaches of Normandy and it binds men together still," Rev. Irwin went on.

Veterans talk to an Australian army officer before the start of the memorial service. Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

He also called for their sacrifices to be remembered, adding, "It's for successive generations not to betray this trust."

Inside the cathedral was British D-Day veteran Victor Mackenzie, 91, who was 20 years old when he served with the Royal Army Service Corps on D-Day.

The reverend also called for their sacrifices to be remembered. Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

As the bells tolled following the service, Mackenzie, of North Weald in Essex, said:

It's always very emotive, it really is. You have to think of those who never came back. It's with you every day. It's one of those things.

Coming back to the cathedral brings back so many memories.

– British D-Day veteran Victor Mackenzie

More on this story