An emotional experience

Craig Allen reports on the 80th anniversary celebrations of D-Day in Normandy

A veteran contemplates the gravestones at Ranville

For 20 years, I have been making the annual pilgrimage to Normandy to cover commemorative events on behalf of the Parachute Regiment. I haven't made it over every year, but have usually been present before to record the key anniversaries.

With this year marking 80 years since the D-Day landings, I made sure I was available to make the trip. I normally stay at a campsite just outside of Ranville, the epicentre for the events celebrating the daring assaults on Pegasus Bridge and the Merville Battery by elements of the 6th Airborne Division, with the paratroops and glider-borne forces protecting the flank of the Allied bridgehead. Many of these men still lie in the Norman churchyard at Ranville, the first French village liberated in the early hours of June 6, 1944.

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