Sheffield D-Day heroes heading to Normandy for anniversary commemorations

Sheffield Normandy Veterans who will be attending the beaches again 72 years after the original landings took place

L to R
Gordon Drabble, George Hodgson, Cyril Elliott, Douglas Austin, Charlie Hill
Picture Dean Atkins
Sheffield Normandy Veterans who will be attending the beaches again 72 years after the original landings took place L to R Gordon Drabble, George Hodgson, Cyril Elliott, Douglas Austin, Charlie Hill Picture Dean Atkins
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A group of Sheffield D-Day heroes will be returning to the beaches of Normandy next month to commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the landings – with their trip being paid for through banking fines for fraud.

Five Normandy veterans from Sheffield and eight family and friends will be taking part in the trip organised by charity D-Day Revisited.

Sheffield Normandy Veterans who will be attending the beaches again 72 years after the original landings took place

L to R
Gordon Drabble, George Hodgson, Cyril Elliott, Douglas Austin, Charlie Hill
Picture Dean Atkins

Sheffield Normandy Veterans who will be attending the beaches again 72 years after the original landings took place L to R Gordon Drabble, George Hodgson, Cyril Elliott, Douglas Austin, Charlie Hill Picture Dean Atkins

Graham Askham, secretary of the Normandy Veterans group in Sheffield, said money for the trip – involving around 100 people from across the country – has been raised from banking fines connected to the Libor scandal, in which several prominent banks attempted to manipulate borrowing rates.

The trip to mark the 72nd anniversary of D-Day will leave the UK on June 2, with the veterans returning on June 9.

The visit has a packed itinerary and will include wreath-laying ceremonies and taking part in an official ceremony of remembrance at Bayeux Cemetery.

D-Day veterans Gordon Drabble, Charlie Hill, Cyril Elliott, Doug Austin and George Hodgson will be heading to France.

The D-Day landings unfold

The D-Day landings unfold

Mr Askham said: “It will be a very special occasion for all the veterans.

“They will all have times of private remembrance when they are alone with their thoughts thinking of friends and comrades who did not come home, but I am sure there will also be lots of story telling and laughter.

“It will be a privilege to share these moments with them.”

Mr Askham said the trip will be particularly special for Charlie Hill, of Gleadless, who will be guest of honour at a ceremony held by his former regiment The Green Howards.

D-Day veteran Cyril Elliott from Shiregreen, Sheffield. Pictured when he was 23 years old

D-Day veteran Cyril Elliott from Shiregreen, Sheffield. Pictured when he was 23 years old

He said: “The ceremony will be held in the village of Crepon, a few miles inland from Gold Beach.

“Charlie fought alongside Company Sergeant Major Stanley Hollis the only man to be awarded the Victoria Cross on D-Day.

“They fought their way from the beach reaching Crepon by late afternoon capturing a German gun battery on the way.

“In Crepon they overcame fierce opposition and captured another enemy gun emplacement in a well-defended farm.”

D-Day soldier Charlie Hill from Gleadless

D-Day soldier Charlie Hill from Gleadless

D-Day vet George Hodgson

D-Day vet George Hodgson

Normandy D-Day veteran Gordon Drabble from Sheffield

Normandy D-Day veteran Gordon Drabble from Sheffield

War veteran Douglas Austin, of Harthill, who landed on Gold beach during World War Two

War veteran Douglas Austin, of Harthill, who landed on Gold beach during World War Two