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Monday, 6 June 2011

"LEST WE FORGET"

"D-Day heroes honoured"


It is the day that Winston Churchill famously referred to as the 'end of the beginning', and today Jersey held its official D-Day memorial to honour those who helped defeat Hitler.

June 6 1944 was the decisive turning point of World War II when almost 200,000 Allied soldiers invaded the beaches of Normandy.

Today, 67 years on, the few remaining former soldiers from Jersey that were there, gathered at Jersey's cenotaph to remember the historic event. Every year their numbers dwindle but for these former soldiers the importance of commemorating D-Day never wanes.

It was a chance to reflect on those events and to remember their comrades who died on the battlefield.

Veteran Clive Kemp, who fought in the Royal Engineers, said: "The boys will never be forgotten put it this way; we lost friends that were like brothers, you know in a platoon of engineers there's about 20 people and you lose a couple, you live together, it's just like losing a brother and we lost quite a few from France to Germany."

Islanders turned out to pay their respects and stood in silence to remember the thousands who did not return home.

Last month the veterans visited the landing beaches and say even decades later the memories have not faded.

Fred Newton, who served in the Royal Navy, said: "You know, you go over to France and young guys of 18 come up to you and say, 'excuse me monsieur were you in the war' and you say yes and they say many many thanks. I still find it very emotional."

And as the succession of people laid wreaths, those who fought bowed their heads to remember their friends who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

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