First Minister joins Welsh veterans in Normandy to commemorate D-Day landings
The First Minister, Carwyn Jones, and heads of State and Government from across the world will today join thousands of veterans in Normandy to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
The First Minister will attend a special United Kingdom – France Service of Remembrance at Bayeux Cathedral and Bayeux Cemetery, organised by the Royal British Legion, before attending an International Ceremony on Sword Beach.
The International Ceremony will be led by Her Majesty the Queen and will bring together Heads of State and Government from 18 different countries, as well as thousands of veterans, 500 of which are travelling from Britain.
This year’s commemorative service pays special tribute to British forces’ central role in the D-Day landing, with Sword Beach being a Franco-British landing site during the operation.
The South Wales Borderers 2nd Battalion was the only Welsh battalion to take part in the D-Day landings, going ashore with approximately 600 men.
During his visit the First Minister will meet with Welsh veterans attending the service in Normandy.
The First Minister said:
"The D-Day landings were the most important Allied operation of the Second World War and it is fitting that countries from across the world are in Normandy today to commemorate the courage, strength and will of all those who participated and changed the course of our history.
"Commemorative events such as these ensure that we never forget the sacrifices that were made by ordinary people from communities across Wales, who were made extraordinary by these circumstances. The freedom for which they fought is just as relevant to us today, which is why we must ensure that we pass this history on through the generations.
"It is an honour to have the opportunity to meet with the Welsh veterans who continue to travel to Normandy in remembrance of what happened here 70 years ago. We owe them a debt of gratitude."
The Royal British Legion Wales Area Manager, Phil Jones said:
"On 6 June the bravery of thousands will be commemorated on both sides of the English Channel. Among them were sailors, airmen and soldiers from the 53rd (Welsh) Division, which served across NW Europe until the end of the war.
"These great veterans and the freedoms they helped secure will be rightly honoured. The Royal British Legion here in Wales and across the UK is proud to Remember and support them and veterans and Armed Forces families of all generations."
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