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88 year old veteran from Blackpool 'hitch hikes' to the battlefields of France

88 year old Robert Coupe hitches to France Credit: National Lottery

A World War II veteran has been filmed "hitch-hiking" to France, to raise awareness of a campaign allowing former soldiers to travel to battlefields.

Robert Coupe filmed the staged hitch hike for the National Lottery's Heroes Return 2 programme.

Robert Coupe was called up for army service at the age of 18. The veteran turns 89 on January 26. He was posted to the 5th Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment before taking part in Operation Charnwood, the offensive to capture the occupied French city of Caen.

Mr Coupe applied for National Lottery funding for a commemorative trip under the Big Lottery Fund’s Heroes Return programme and has since successfully applied for a second trip as part of the extended Heroes Return 2.

Mr. Coupe explains: “I go with the 59th Division members every year and we go round the graves of the comrades. We lost a lot of men.

“It’s an expensive thing, it’s a lot of money. I can’t go enough and if I can go with funding then I’m quite happy to go.”

Vicki Kennedy, Director of The National Lottery Promotions Unit, said: “Our war veterans sacrificed so much to protect our freedoms. It is entirely appropriate that they should receive National Lottery funding to pay their respects to those who didn’t return."

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