Normandy veterans from Sheffield got together one final time for their last ever official engagement.
The Normandy Veterans’ Association nationally formally disbands this Friday - 70 years on from the daring Allied invasion of the French beaches in June 1944.
In Sheffield, the city’s own branch plans to continue to meet, but only informally for comradeship and friendship.
Fourteen ‘full’ veterans – men now in their late 80s and early 90s, who took part in the D-Day invasions on June 6, 1944, or in the days and weeks afterwards – got together for an early Christmas Luncheon at the Mercure St Paul’s Hotel, overlooking the Winter Garden.
Special guests were Lord Mayor Coun Peter Rippon and his Lady Mayoress wife Susan and The Star’s Deputy News Editor Sarah Crabtree, who travelled to Normandy with the veterans for the international 70th anniversary commemorations in June.
Staff at the hotel laid on a drinks reception, and organised a prize raffle plus gifts for each veteran of meals in the hotel, lunches at nearby restaurants, and afternoon teas.
Association secretary Gordon Drabble, aged 90, from Lodge Moor, said the day had been a ‘splendid occasion’.
“This will be our last ever official engagement, so it is poignant,” he said.
“But in Sheffield we do intend to keep meeting up – for as long as the last of us can.”