Local NewsWorld War II veterans honored a day before D-Day...

World War II veterans honored a day before D-Day anniversary

-

- Advertisment -

RANVILLE, France — More than 20 British World War II veterans gathered Sunday near Pegasus Bridge in northwestern France, one of the first sites liberated by Allied forces from Nazi Germany, for commemorations honoring the nearly 160,000 troops from Britain, the U.S., Canada and other nations who landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944.

Veterans, their families and French and international visitors braved the rainy weather to take part in series of events this weekend and on Monday for the 78th anniversary of D-Day.

Dozens of U.S. veterans were also attending events in the region, ahead of Monday’s ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, home to the gravesites of 9,386 who died fighting on D-Day and in the operations that followed.

Peter Smoothy, 97, served in the British Royal Navy and landed on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day.

“The first thing I remember are the poor lads who didn’t come back … It’s a long time ago now, nearly 80 years … And here we are still living,” he said. “We’re thinking about all these poor lads who didn’t get off the beach that day, their last day, but they’re always in our minds.”

Welcomed to the sound of bagpipes at the Pegasus Memorial in the French town of Ranville, British veterans attended a ceremony commemorating a key operation in the first minutes of the Allied invasion of Normandy, when troops had to take control a strategically crucial bridge.

On the British side of the Channel, then 17-year-old Mary Scott was working at the communications center in Portsmouth, listening to the coded messages coming from the front line and passing them on as part of the operations on Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword Beaches.

“The war was in my ears,” she recalled, describing the radio machine she operated via levers.

“When they (communication officers) had to respond to my messages and they lifted their lever, you heard all the sounds of the men on the beaches: bombs, machine guns, men shouting, screaming.”

Scott, who will soon turn 96, said she got very “emotional” when arriving to Normandy on Saturday on a trip organized by the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans. She was in tears when seeing the D-Day beaches.

“Suddenly I thought maybe some of those young men I spoke to… that they had died,” she said.

British Veterans attend the ceremony at Pegasus Bridge, in Ranville, Normandy, Sunday, June, 5, 2022. On Monday, the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, home to the gravesites of 9,386 who died fighting on D-Day and in the operations that followed, will host U.S. veterans and thousands of visitors in its first major public ceremony since 2019. (AP Photo/Jeremias Gonzalez)British Veterans attend the ceremony at Pegasus Bridge, in Ranville, Normandy, Sunday, June, 5, 2022. On Monday, the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, home to the gravesites of 9,386 who died fighting on D-Day and in the operations that followed, will host U.S. veterans and thousands of visitors in its first major public ceremony since 2019. (AP Photo/Jeremias Gonzalez) General view of headstones in the US cemetery of Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, Saturday, June, 4 2022. Several ceremonies will take place to commemorate the 78th anniversary of D-Day that led to the liberation of France and Europe from the German occupation. (AP Photo/Jeremias Gonzales)General view of headstones in the US cemetery of Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, Saturday, June, 4 2022. Several ceremonies will take place to commemorate the 78th anniversary of D-Day that led to the liberation of France and Europe from the German occupation. (AP Photo/Jeremias Gonzales)

Latest news

Labor Day Events in Boston for 2022: Enjoy the long weekend with this list of fun things to do & activities!

Labor Day events in Boston | Image credit: Marlborough Labor Day Parade Labor day is oh so near! And...

MBTA GM says buses to blame for rushed Orange Line closure

As students return to school and fall schedules begin to ramp up, MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak defended the...

New Celtic Danilo Gallinari suffers meniscus tear

The Celtics were resting a tad easier by Sunday afternoon after an MRI taken of Danilo Gallinari’s sore left...

Warmer Weather Next Few Days

7Weather- It’s a warm start to the week with highs close to 90º. Just wait a few days if...
- Advertisement -

See you in November: License law opponents celebrate signature threshold

Opponents of the state’s new immigrant license law say they have collected nearly twice the number of signatures required...

Occupy movement symbol Dorli Rainey dies at 95

Dorli Rainey, a self-described “old lady in combat boots” who became a symbol of the Occupy protest movement when...

Must read

MBTA GM says buses to blame for rushed Orange Line closure

As students return to school and fall schedules begin...
- Advertisement -

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you