Veterans final reunion in Lowestoft

THEY took part in one of the most vital and crucial battles of the 20th century but this week veterans of the D-Day landings gathered in Lowestoft for the last time.

THEY took part in one of the most vital and crucial battles of the 20th century but this week veterans of the D-Day landings gathered in Lowestoft for the last time.

The Normandy Veterans Association is in its 65th year and for many years has held its annual reunion at the Gunton Hall Coastal Chalet Resort.

When the men were part of the invasion force on June 6, 1944, their average age was 20 but now they are well into their eighties.

This year's reunion, organised by the Norwich Branch, is their last.


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'None of us are getting any younger and the average age of the Normandy Veterans is 85,' explained national chairman Eddie Slater.

'We do enjoy getting together and the Norwich branch and the staff here at Gunton Hall are magnificent hosts. There will be smaller reunions but this is the last major event,' he explained.

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A highlight of the veterans stay in Lowestoft was a concert given by the military band of the Brigade of Gurkhas, on Wednesday.

'Every year there are fewer of us left but this has been a superb week which everyone, including carers and the families of veterans, has enjoyed.

'We are delighted that the Brigade of Gurkhas have been able to be here for our final official reunion,' said Jack Woods, of the Norwich branch of the Normandy Veterans Association, who helped organise the event.

The British forces, along with their Commonwealth and American allies, suffered huge losses during the Normandy landings and many thousands of young men are buried in military graves in Normandy.

However, their bravery was a vital part of the Allies winning the second world war and the landings are recognised as a historic occasion in the fight for freedom.

'We will be going to Normandy to pay our respects to our fallen colleagues in June this year,' said Mr Woods.

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