THANK you for your support of Allied veterans of June 6, 1944 (Connexion, October). I am now one of the dwindling band of survivors, at 90-plus years of age.
The British public have generously supported our visits financially, and we are extremely grateful, but the costs of the ferry services are forcing me to either reduce the frequency of my visits, or use the Channel Tunnel, most inconvenient from Wales.
Is a reasonable fare programme for veterans too much to ask? After all, the success of the D-Day operation provided the platform for a most successful tourist industry. Some of my memorabilia now lies in the archives at Arromanches. See www.47commando.org.uk
WITH reference to your article “French throw lifeline for D-Day veterans” (Connexion, October), I felt I had to write to you to thank you for raising the matter, also to say thanks very much to the mayor of Arromanches, Patrick Jardin, and his officials for their kind and generous offer to help the few remaining veterans travel to memorial ceremonies in Normandy.
Unfortunately, the decision of the UK Ministry of Defence will come as no surprise to anyone, especially members of the armed forces.
My wife’s father, William McEwan, landed at Arromanches, I believe two days after D-Day. He reached the age of 82 and we were fortunate enough to take him back to Arromanches about two years before he died, a trip that still holds sad and poignant memories for us both. His memory of place names and certain roads was quite startling after all the time that had passed, although for those men, it was an unforgettable experience. An experience I doubt those at the MoD will have any recollection of.
Terry and Marie HARRIES
I WRITE to express my own shame and outrage that the British government can be so miserly towards the handful of survivors wishing to take part in visits to France.
Thousands gave their lives so that we might live in a free country, one of whom was my own father. He served in the RAF and was, sadly, killed on a return bomber flight from Germany right at the end of the war, leaving my mother a widow with three children under five to bring up.
My heartfelt thanks go to the people of Arromanches for their generous offer. The fact that 300,000 people are interested enough in the D-Day landings to visit their museum is proof enough for me that the veterans deserve their continued visits to remember their colleagues.
I shall be writing to the MoD to express my shame at their actions. After all, there will be no D-Day veterans left by 2044. The least the British government should do is to fund the remaining survivors to the end of their lives.
Margaret LE GOOD
AS Remembrance Sunday draws close, our thoughts turn not only to those who fought so bravely in the last century, but also the troops who are serving their country now.
More than 330 British troops have lost their lives and hundreds more have sustained life-changing injuries in Afghanistan since 2001, and it is not just those on the frontline who are affected. Conflict can also have a devastating impact on those left at home: the mums and dads, wives, partners, children, brothers and sisters.
The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen & Families Association (SSAFA) has been providing vital support to our servicemen and women and their families for 125 years. From the elderly Second World War veteran with mobility problems to the young soldier seriously wounded in Iraq, SSAFA’s ability to adapt to the changing needs of our service community means we will always be there when we are needed.
In 2009, SSAFA France, based in Castillonnès, assisted 81 families and 2010, SSAFA’s 125th anniversary, is proving to be another busy year.
Anyone who has served for just one day could be eligible for SSAFA’s support, including past and present members of all three armed forces, members of the Territorial Army, our Reserve Forces and those who have done national service.
If you think SSAFA can assist you or someone you know, or if you are interested in volunteering, please contact SSAFA France on 05 53 24 92 38 or visit France@ssafa.org.uk