Veterans branch could continue as social group

Jack Woods. Photo: Bill Smith Jack Woods. Photo: Bill Smith

David Bale david.bale2@archant.co.uk
Saturday, April 12, 2014
7:59 AM

The Norwich branch of the Normandy Veterans’ Association could continue as a social group when the national association closes in November.

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Normandy veterans from the Norwich branch. Photo: Steve AdamsNormandy veterans from the Norwich branch. Photo: Steve Adams

This year’s commemorations of the D-Day landings on June 6 will be the last to be officially marked by the Normandy Veterans’ Association.

The organisation, made up of men who took part in the 1944 invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe, has announced that after this June, it will no longer be undertaking trips to France for its annual act of remembrance, as its ageing following dwindles and members find it increasingly difficult to travel.

Following the summer’s 70th anniversary events, the association plans to officially disband in November and lay up its National Standard at a service at St Margaret’s Church, in the grounds of Westminster Abbey.

But the Norwich branch could continue after November as a social group.

Jack Woods, secretary of the city branch, said: “The Norwich branch is autonomous and does not have to close down. The general idea among members at the moment is that they want to carry on in a social way, but nothing’s been decided.

“When the national association closes down in November, we will have an extraordinary general meeting to find out what the Norwich branch wants to do. We have about 250 members.”

Brian Wilson, chairman of Norfolk & Norwich Combined Ex-Services’ Association, said this year they were organising a special parade and service in Norwich to run in conjunction with the Normandy veterans’ service in France.

He said: “The service in Norwich will be attended by VIPs and Normandy veterans unable to go to France. The ceremony will start with a wreath-laying service at the city memorial at 10.30am, followed by a service of remembrance in St Peter Mancroft at 11am. There will be schoolchildren from Thurton and Blofield schools, which the veterans visit.”

How are you commemorating the 70th anniversary of D-Day? 
Email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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