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Pilgrimages through the years - D-Day veterans return to Normandy

PUBLISHED: 08:59 01 June 2019 | UPDATED: 09:10 01 June 2019

Norwich and District Normandy Veterans Association veterans, from left, Len Fox, Jack Woods and Alan King, at Gold Beach at Arromanches in 2016.  Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Norwich and District Normandy Veterans Association veterans, from left, Len Fox, Jack Woods and Alan King, at Gold Beach at Arromanches in 2016. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

D-Day's 75th anniversary will see several veterans of the Normandy landings from Norfolk and Suffolk making the poignant journey to the beaches of Normandy.

Norwich and District Normandy Veterans Association member, Len Fox, in 2018 remembering landing on this beach at Arromanches on D-Day. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYNorwich and District Normandy Veterans Association member, Len Fox, in 2018 remembering landing on this beach at Arromanches on D-Day. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Each year, there are fewer making the journey. But the memories are vivid for those who are able to attend, who are now in their 90s.

Norwich Normandy veteran, Jack Woods, at the grave of his friend Dave Gototbed, a trooper in Jack's regiment, C Squadron 9th Battalion, Royal Tank Regiment, at Bayeux Cemetery on D-Day 2015. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYNorwich Normandy veteran, Jack Woods, at the grave of his friend Dave Gototbed, a trooper in Jack's regiment, C Squadron 9th Battalion, Royal Tank Regiment, at Bayeux Cemetery on D-Day 2015. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

And younger generations treasure the opportunity to hear their firsthand testimony of what they went through.

Part of the remains of the Mulberry Harbour at Arromanches. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPart of the remains of the Mulberry Harbour at Arromanches. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Here we have brought together some photos of D-Day veterans making the journey back to the beaches over the last few years.

Standard bearer, Patrick Hornby, with the Norwich and District Normandy Veterans Association's standard on the beach as D-Day is remembered at Arromanches in 2018. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYStandard bearer, Patrick Hornby, with the Norwich and District Normandy Veterans Association's standard on the beach as D-Day is remembered at Arromanches in 2018. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

In 2014, to mark the 70th anniversary, medals were presented to all the veterans attending. There was also a beautiful ceramic poppy field on Arromanches beach.

A wreath ready for the Royal British Legion service at Bayeux Cemetery, D-Day 2015. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYA wreath ready for the Royal British Legion service at Bayeux Cemetery, D-Day 2015. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The visits are always a deeply emotional occasion, as the veterans remember the comrades who fell, and the experiences of all those years ago are recalled.

Suffolk veteran Alan King salutes the grave Cambes-en-Plaine War Cemetery of his friend Cpl Louis Wilkes of the Royal Armoured Corps, 70 years on from when he died in Alan's arms in July 1944. Picture: Denise BradleySuffolk veteran Alan King salutes the grave Cambes-en-Plaine War Cemetery of his friend Cpl Louis Wilkes of the Royal Armoured Corps, 70 years on from when he died in Alan's arms in July 1944. Picture: Denise Bradley

But there are also lighter moments, such as a few old soldiers taking the opportunity to paddle on Sword Beach, also during the 70th-anniversary visit.

The Norfolk veterans visit Hottot-les-Bagues Cemetery, for a service for the 70th anniversary of D-Day in 2014. Veterans Neville Howell, centre, and Len Fox, shake hands with a French boy. Picture: Denise BradleyThe Norfolk veterans visit Hottot-les-Bagues Cemetery, for a service for the 70th anniversary of D-Day in 2014. Veterans Neville Howell, centre, and Len Fox, shake hands with a French boy. Picture: Denise Bradley

On June 6, the official international ceremony celebrating this major anniversary will take place on one of the landing beaches, with many Allied heads of State attending.

Normandy veteran Alan King from Eye in Suffolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYNormandy veteran Alan King from Eye in Suffolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Read more - Fred. Olsen's Boudicca on special mission for D Day veterans

Norwich Normandy veteran, David Woodrow, at Pegasus Bridge at Bénouville in 2015, where gliders were flown in under the cover of darkness early on D-Day, so that the Allied Forces could take the Bridge from the Germans. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYNorwich Normandy veteran, David Woodrow, at Pegasus Bridge at Bénouville in 2015, where gliders were flown in under the cover of darkness early on D-Day, so that the Allied Forces could take the Bridge from the Germans. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Emotions running high for Normandy veteran, Jack Woods, at the remembrance ceremony at Rots in 2017. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYEmotions running high for Normandy veteran, Jack Woods, at the remembrance ceremony at Rots in 2017. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Normandy veteran George Gallagher receives his medal at Rots in 2014, presented to all the veterans for the 70th anniversay of D-Day. Picture: Denise BradleyNormandy veteran George Gallagher receives his medal at Rots in 2014, presented to all the veterans for the 70th anniversay of D-Day. Picture: Denise Bradley

The Norfolk veterans take time out from their official pilgrimage in Normandy for the 70th anniversary of D-Day in 2014 to show their joy at being able to return to Sword Beach for pleasure. From left, Peter Hemp, Ernie Chambers, David Woodrow, John Utting, and Norman Taylor. Picture: Denise BradleyThe Norfolk veterans take time out from their official pilgrimage in Normandy for the 70th anniversary of D-Day in 2014 to show their joy at being able to return to Sword Beach for pleasure. From left, Peter Hemp, Ernie Chambers, David Woodrow, John Utting, and Norman Taylor. Picture: Denise Bradley

Veterans in Normandy for the 70th anniversary in 2014. From left, David Woodrow, Jack Woods  and Neville Howell,from Norfolk and Alan King from Suffolk. Picture: Denise BradleyVeterans in Normandy for the 70th anniversary in 2014. From left, David Woodrow, Jack Woods and Neville Howell,from Norfolk and Alan King from Suffolk. Picture: Denise Bradley

Normandy veterans ready to head for France in 2015. Suffolk veteran Alan King, third right, and Norfolk veterans from left, Norman Taylor, David Woodrow, Len Fox, Jack Woods, Neville Howell, and Peter Hemp. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYNormandy veterans ready to head for France in 2015. Suffolk veteran Alan King, third right, and Norfolk veterans from left, Norman Taylor, David Woodrow, Len Fox, Jack Woods, Neville Howell, and Peter Hemp. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Norwich Normandy veteran, Len Fox, 90, back on a Normandy beach in 2015, 71 years after he first landed there. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYNorwich Normandy veteran, Len Fox, 90, back on a Normandy beach in 2015, 71 years after he first landed there. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Norwich Normandy veteran, Neville Howell back in Normandy in 2015. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYNorwich Normandy veteran, Neville Howell back in Normandy in 2015. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Normandy veterans, Alan King, left, from Suffolk, and Norfolk's Len Fox, at the Royal British Legion service at Bayeux Cemetery in 2015. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYNormandy veterans, Alan King, left, from Suffolk, and Norfolk's Len Fox, at the Royal British Legion service at Bayeux Cemetery in 2015. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Veteran Alan King from Suffolk in the beautiful ceramic poppy field on Arromanches beach for the 70th anniversary of D-Day in 2014, with parts of the old Mulberry Harbour in the background. Picture: Denise BradleyVeteran Alan King from Suffolk in the beautiful ceramic poppy field on Arromanches beach for the 70th anniversary of D-Day in 2014, with parts of the old Mulberry Harbour in the background. Picture: Denise Bradley

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