Flypast over Sheffield to honour Normandy veterans on 75th anniversary

A flypast will honour the Normandy veterans who liberated Europe, as Sheffield marks the campaign’s 75th anniversary this summer.

By Robert Cumber
Friday, 05 April, 2019, 19:58

A Lancaster bomber is set to soar over the city on Saturday, June 15, in what will be the highlight of a ‘special day’ commemorating those who gave us our freedom.

Veterans are expected to travel from far afield to take part in a huge parade and ceremony at Norfolk Heritage Park remembering the brave souls who took part in the D-Day landings and the ensuing campaign.

A Lancaster bomber is due to take part in a flypast over Sheffield, marking the 75th anniversary of the Normandy campaign (pic:Joe Giddens/PA Wire)

Graham Askham, secretary of the Sheffield Normandy Veterans Association, said: “This will be the last time the people of Sheffield get the opportunity to say a proper thank you to these very special men, who gave us the freedom we enjoy today.

“The veterans are all in their 90s now and some are very frail but they're determined to be there for what is sure to be a special day.”

Mr Askham said the finer details of the ceremony were still being finalised but the RAF had confirmed a Lancaster would take part in a flypast over the city that afternoon.

US troops board boats on the English coast ahead of the Normandy landings (pic: Keystone/Getty Images)

The event was originally due to take place at Weston Park in the city centre but has been moved on the advice of Sheffield Council, amid concerns the crowds expected to attend could cause gridlock on surrounding roads and make it hard for patients and staff to get to the nearby Royal Hallamshire and Sheffield Children’s hospitals.

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A smaller dedication ceremony will now take place at Weston Park, where a new memorial stone and bench honouring Normandy veterans will be unveiled alongside the existing memorial tree, on a separate date.

Dozens of active servicemen and women are expected to attend the ceremony, alongside veterans, cadets and scouts, and it hoped an Army band will lead the parade.

Mr Askham said at least 22 Normandy veterans were due to attend, with some travelling from as far as Harrogate and Hull for the occasion, and he hopes the public will turn our in their droves to pay their respects.

He is still keen to hear from more Normandy veterans, who are being invited to take part in a private reception at the University of Sheffield's Firth Court after the ceremony.

The D-Day landings took place on June 6, 1944, but the event in Sheffield is being held nine days later so those veterans who are able to do so can also attend commemorations in France on the day of the anniversary.

If you are a Normandy veteran, or know someone who is and would like to be there, you can call Graham Askham on 0781 2682 040 or email graham@askham.eu.