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D-Day veteran, 94, scatters roses at sea in poignant tribute

PUBLISHED: 17:10 07 July 2019 | UPDATED: 17:19 07 July 2019

D-Day veteran Ernie Covill scatters roses into the sea at Hunstanton from a restored troop landing craft. Picture: Chris Bishop

D-Day veteran Ernie Covill scatters roses into the sea at Hunstanton from a restored troop landing craft. Picture: Chris Bishop

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A poignant tribute to the fallen of D-Day was paid when a veteran scattered roses into the sea at Hunstanton.

D-Day veteran Ernie Covill together with other veterans head into the sea at Hunstanton on board a restored troop landing craft. Picture: Chris BishopD-Day veteran Ernie Covill together with other veterans head into the sea at Hunstanton on board a restored troop landing craft. Picture: Chris Bishop

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.

D-Day veteran Ernie Covill laid roses into the sea at Hunstanton to mark those who lost their lives 75 years ago. Picture: Chris BishopD-Day veteran Ernie Covill laid roses into the sea at Hunstanton to mark those who lost their lives 75 years ago. Picture: Chris Bishop

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."

D-Day veteran Ernie Covill together with other veterans head into the sea at Hunstanton on board a restored troop landing craft. Picture: Chris BishopD-Day veteran Ernie Covill together with other veterans head into the sea at Hunstanton on board a restored troop landing craft. Picture: Chris Bishop

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.

D-Day veteran Ernie Covill together with other veterans at Hunstanton on board a restored troop landing craft. Picture: Chris BishopD-Day veteran Ernie Covill together with other veterans at Hunstanton on board a restored troop landing craft. Picture: Chris Bishop

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.

D-Day veteran Ernie Covill together with other veterans at Hunstanton on board a restored troop landing craft. Picture: Chris BishopD-Day veteran Ernie Covill together with other veterans at Hunstanton on board a restored troop landing craft. Picture: Chris Bishop

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.

D-Day veteran Ernie Covill scatters roses into the sea at Hunstanton from a restored troop landing craft. Picture: Chris BishopD-Day veteran Ernie Covill scatters roses into the sea at Hunstanton from a restored troop landing craft. Picture: Chris Bishop

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.

D-Day veteran Ernie Covill together with other veterans at Hunstanton on board a restored troop landing craft. Picture: Chris BishopD-Day veteran Ernie Covill together with other veterans at Hunstanton on board a restored troop landing craft. Picture: Chris Bishop

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."

D-Day veteran Ernie Covill was joined by two pipers for the ceremony to lay roses into thre sea from a restored troop landing craft. Picture: Chris BishopD-Day veteran Ernie Covill was joined by two pipers for the ceremony to lay roses into thre sea from a restored troop landing craft. Picture: Chris Bishop

Ernie Covill, 94, served as a lorry driver with the Royal Army Service Corp on D-Day. Picture: Chris BishopErnie Covill, 94, served as a lorry driver with the Royal Army Service Corp on D-Day. Picture: Chris Bishop

Second World War vehicles were among those on display at the Hunstanton Military Weekend. Picture: Chris BishopSecond World War vehicles were among those on display at the Hunstanton Military Weekend. Picture: Chris Bishop

Visitors at Hunstanton Military Weekend. Picture: Chris BishopVisitors at Hunstanton Military Weekend. Picture: Chris Bishop



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