D-Day veteran, 94, scatters roses at sea in poignant tribute
PUBLISHED: 17:10 07 July 2019 | UPDATED: 17:19 07 July 2019
A poignant tribute to the fallen of D-Day was paid when a veteran scattered roses into the sea at Hunstanton.
Ernie Covill, 94, who served as a lorry driver with the Royal Army Service Corps on D-Day, marked the 75th anniversary of the Normandy landings.
Taking to the sea from the Hunstanton beach in a restored Second World War landing craft, Mr Covill, from Boston in Lincolnshire, joined other local veterans and two pipers as he laid flowers amid the waves.
The 1,000 rose petals marked those who lost their lives during Operation Overlord.
Mr Covill said: "It was really moving. It has been fantastic, it really has."
The ceremony on Sunday was part of the Hunstanton Military Weekend which also included a special service conducted by the RAF Marham chaplain that also marked the D-Day anniversary.
The weekend event gave crowds the opportunity to see exhibits dating from both world wars, along with more recent conflicts on Hunstanton's Green.
Vintage car and military vehicle owners came from far and wide to display at the two-day spectacular organised by hotelier Harold Payne from Holbeach, Lincolnshire.
Mr Payne spent £35,000 restoring the DUKW 'Monty' amphibious troop carrier which took part in the D-Day landings and which was the star of the show at a military heritage rally.
The event also included music from nostalgic vocalists Me & My Girl, 1940s singer Sarah Jane and the Peterborough Pipe Band as well as other entertainment and activities. Veterans' charities were also well-represented.
This year's event was held in aid of raising funds for a memorial for the 97 Norfolk soldiers massacred by the SS at Le Paradis in May 1940.
The Dunkirk evacuation was only made possible by the defence of the town perimeter, with one of the battlefields centering on the village of Le Paradis and Lestrem, in northern France.
A campaign is being run to remember the soldiers, most of whom were from the Royal Norfolk Regiment, who were ordered to fight to the last bullet and stopped the enemy in their tracks.
All proceeds are going towards a memorial in their honour at Norwich Cathedral.
Hunstanton Mayor Amanda Bosworth said: "It has been a great weekend. It was a very special service this morning. It had a mixture of emotion and elation."