Sheffield ready to say big thank you to Normandy heroes, with parade and flypast

Thousands of people are expected to turn out this weekend to say a big thank you to the Normandy veterans, including D-Day heroes, who liberated Europe.

Wednesday, 12th June 2019, 10:23 am
Updated Wednesday, 12th June 2019, 3:27 pm

At least 3,000 people are expected to flock to Norfolk Heritage Park on Saturday for what will be one of the biggest commemorations in the country marking the 75th anniversary of the campaign which spelled the beginning of the end of the Second World War.

The event, at which around 20 Normandy veterans will be the guests of honour, will include a parade by cadets, active servicemen and women, and veterans, along with a flypast by a Lancaster bomber.

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A Lancaster bomber is due to perform a flypast over Norfolk Heritage Park as part of the Normandy campaign commemorations in Sheffield (pic: Andrew Yates/AFP/Getty Images)

Graham Askham, secretary of Sheffield’s Normandy Veterans Association, said: “Hopefully it will be a great day and we can show these Normandy heroes how much we all appreciate what they did for us. We’re determined to make it a special day for them.”

The approximate timings for the big day are:

11.15am – Veterans begin arriving

12.15pm – Dignitaries arrive

Normandy Veterans Les Giles, Cyril Elliott, Eric Fowler, Douglas Austin and Gordon Drabble (pic: Chris Etchells)

12.40pm – Parade begins, followed by a memorial ceremony

1.32pm – Lancaster bomber makes the first of three passes

1.45pm – Ceremony ends, and Normandy veterans head to private reception at Firth Court

The ceremony is due to take place at the top end of the park, near the Guildford Avenue entrance, and the parade will be led by the band of the Royal Engineers.Pat Davey, chairman of Frecheville Royal British Legion, said: “It should be a happy day because we’re celebrating the fact it was the beginning of the end of the war, but also a respectful and sombre day because we’re commemorating not just those who came back but those who remained behind.

“I think it’s fantastic that Sheffield is showing its thanks to everyone who was involved, after all these years.”

As well as the organisers who have helped make the event happen, she praised Northern for offering free rail travel to any veterans attending to the ceremony.