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VIDEO: Normandy landings remembered in Fylde

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D-Day veterans have described how proud they were to serve their country during the Second World War - 70 years on from the largest seaborne invasion in history.

Former soldiers, sailors and airmen joined residents at Blackpool Cenotaph and in St Annes to remember the sacrifice given by those on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944.

Thousands of British soldiers lost their lives during the invasion’s first morning as they were gunned down by German soldiers waiting for them in fortified bunkers on the shore of five codenamed beaches.

Despite the huge loss of life, the invasion was a success and would be the beginning of the end for the war in Europe.

Ex-Royal Marine Derek Coyle, 88, from Waterloo Road, South Shore, took part in the assault seven decades ago.

He said: “I get heartbroken when I think about it and I have cried many a time. Today makes me feel very proud and it’s important we continue to remember what happened because I lost some good friends over there.”

Bill Cartmell, 89, of Layton Road, Layton, added: “I was 19 during the landings and was very frightened.

“I was in the heavy artillery and had to clear a way through the mines before we could get through, but halfway through we got hit and it delayed us.

“For those involved the service has been very memorable and for many of us we won’t see another one.

“It’s very important we remember these days.”

Ken Benbow, 88, treasurer for the D-Day and Normandy Veterans’ Association, from Poulton, said: “Today is wonderful and it’s a pity it will soon come to an end.

“It’s lovely to meet up with everyone and hear all the different stories. Everyone suffered during the war and the amount of people killed was terrible.”

Paul Binns, vice chairman of the Fylde ex-service liaison committee, organised the service and said it was important everyone remembered the sacrifice veterans made.

He said: “This is something all the ex-servicemen in Blackpool do and they deserve it because if it wasn’t for what they did, half the people here wouldn’t be around.

“It’s important to do this and keep the memory alive, so the children of today realise what was sacrificed at the time.”

 

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