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Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Veterans invited to take part in milestone cruise

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Legion Scotland and Poppyscotland have chartered a ship to mark 75 years since the D-Day landings

Veterans are being encouraged to take part in a special trip.

Legion Scotland and Poppyscotland are calling on communities, families and friends to help spread the message to D-Day veterans who are eligible for a fully-funded trip to this year’s 75th anniversary commemorations in the UK and Normandy.

Scotland’s leading Armed Forces charities, together with The Royal British Legion which operates in the rest of the UK, plan to take up to 300 Normandy veterans to France on a specially chartered ship to mark 75 years since the original D-Day landings. 175 veterans, who helped liberate France during the Second World War have already signed up to travel on the MV Boudicca, but there is still the opportunity for more to join them, with the deadline for applications having been extended until Monday 4 March.

Dr Claire Armstrong, chief executive of Legion Scotland, said: “We believe it’s important that all veterans who contributed to the liberation of France who want to attend the commemorations for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Portsmouth and Normandy are able to do so.

“We are delighted at the response we have received so far, but we still have space for more veterans to join their comrades who shared in those challenging wartime experiences in 1944. Most importantly at this stage, we don’t want anyone who wishes to take part to be left behind.

“If you have a friend or family member who is a D-Day veteran – or, indeed, if you are one yourself – please get in touch with The Royal British Legion and find out how to be a part of this historic trip.”

With the majority of available accommodation in Normandy already booked, the voyage will provide a comfortable and fully supported travel package for those veterans who haven’t made plans. The MV Boudicca will depart from Dover on 2 June, taking in events in Poole and Portsmouth, before crossing the English Channel for the veterans on board to attend the commemorations taking place in Normandy on 6 June.

One of those already confirmed to be taking part in this historic journey is D-Day veteran Denis Gregson, 93, from North Lanarkshire, who said: “I’m so proud to be going on the voyage with all my fellow veterans and it will give me a chance to meet my fellow veterans that l have not seen for 75 years. Last year, I went to Normandy with The Royal British legion and it gave me a new lease of life. I think the 75th anniversary of D-Day will be a special occasion and I’m very proud to be part of the journey.”

Veterans interested in travelling on the ship are invited to contact The Royal British Legion for an application form, which can also be downloaded from the Legion’s website.

Each veteran will be entitled to door-to-door travel for themselves and one guest or carer, at no cost. The journey is being funded by The Royal British Legion’s LIBOR grant, in conjunction with the Ministry of Defence and Arena travel.