The Ministry of Defence and the Royal British Legion have made an appeal to find Normandy Veterans able to take part in a commemorative voyage aboard a specially chartered ship that will set sail to Normandy in June this year.
A statement on the Royal British Legions website states:
‘6 June 2019 marks the 75th anniversary of The D-Day Landings – one of the most remarkable Allied wartime operations.
‘The Royal British Legion is working with the UK Government and other stakeholders to plan significant commemorations to mark D-Day 75, both in Normandy and across the United Kingdom.
‘We’re excited to announce that The Royal British Legion, in partnership with Arena Travel, have chartered a ship, the MV Boudicca, to provide a fully funded tour for 300 D-Day Veterans.
‘Each veteran is able to bring one carer who will also be fully funded.
‘Priority will be given to veterans who participated in the D-Day Landings, with the remaining spaces allocated to Normandy Veterans via a ballot.
‘To apply for a place on the MV Boudicca, please download and print the following three forms:
Complete the eligibility form in its entirety and return to Arena Travel by Monday 4 February 2019 at:
2 Betts Avenue
Suffolk IP5 3RH
‘All further queries should be directed to Arena Travel on 01473 660800
‘After your application has been received, you will receive a telephone call from a Royal British Legion representative who will confirm your eligibility.
‘Your entry and this telephone call
‘If you are unsuccessful in the ballot, you will have the option to remain on a reserve list in case a place subsequently becomes available.’
The Normandy landings were the landing operations on Tuesday, 6 June 1944 of the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II.
Codenamed Operation Neptune and often referred to as D-Day, it was the largest seaborne invasion in history.
Planning for the operation began in 1943.
In the months leading up to the invasion, the Allies conducted a substantial military deception, codenamed Operation Bodyguard, to mislead the Germans as to the date and location of the main Allied landings.
The weather on D-Day was far from ideal and the operation had to be delayed 24 hours; a further postponement would have meant a delay of at least two weeks as the invasion planners had requirements for the phase of the moon, the tides, and the time of day that meant only a few days each month were deemed suitable.
Adolf Hitler placed German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in command of German forces and of developing fortifications along the Atlantic Wall in anticipation of an Allied invasion.
Below is the outline itinerary of the MV Boudicca:
Day 1, Sunday 2 June 2019
Day 2, Monday 3 June 2019
At sea familiarisation and safety briefings
Day 3, Tuesday 4 June 2019
Arrive in Poole Harbour for MoD-linked events
Day 4, Wednesday 5 June 2019
Arrive in Portsmouth for Ceremonial Services and events
Day 5, Thursday 6 June 2019
Arrive in La Havre and transfer by coach to Legion sponsored events in Bayeux
Day 6, Friday 7 June 2019
Coach visits to the Op OVERLORD beaches, SWORD & GOLD; the British Normandy Memorial and the Arromanches Military Museum
Gala dinner on-board ship
Depart Le Havre
Day 7, Saturday 8 June 2019
Arrive in Portsmouth for a day of Civic events
Day 8, Sunday 9 June 2019
Arrive in Dover
There are many other D-Day events being held in the UK and Normandy.
Here is a snapshot of key D-Day 75 event involving the Ministry of Defence, The Royal British Legion and Portsmouth City Council:
- 2 June: MV Boudicca sets sail from Dover
- 5 June: MV Boudicca alongside Portsmouth
- 5 June: The main UK D-Day 75 Commemoration Event on Southsea Common including a military ceremonial event, flypasts, gala lunch for Veterans, Vintage Fair (until 9 June), screenings and much more
- 5 June: MV Boudicca Sails Portsmouth to Normandy, escorted by a Royal Navy vessel and flotilla
- 5 June: A Parachute Display from the RAF and Parachute Regiment Ranville, Pegasus Bridge
- 6 June: Music to awake the city at Portsmouth/Southsea
- 6 June: Inauguration Ceremony of the British Normandy Memorial at Vur-Ser-Mer
- 6 June: Remembrance Service at Bayeux Cathedral
- 6 June: Bayeux Cemetery Remembrance Ceremony
- 6 June: A reception for veterans in Arromanches
- 6 June: Screens at Southsea Common and Portsmouth Guildhall Square relaying events in France
- 6 June: D-Day 75 Commemoration Event at National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire
- 7 June: Veterans from MV Boudicca visit Sword and Gold Beach and the military museum at Arromanches
- 7 June: Gala Night onboard MV Boudicca
- 7 June: MV Boudicca sails from Normandy to Portsmouth overnight
- 8 June: MV Boudicca returns to Portsmouth for a Veterans Welcome Home Reception
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