An open letter from Lt Col PD Rodgers Regimental Secretary to all veterans of the 6th Airborne Division who took part in the Normandy landings.
70TH ANNIVERSARY OF NORMANDY LANDING INVITATIONS – JUNE 2014
1. Invitation. I am writing to all veterans on behalf of the Colonel Commandant of the Parachute Regiment, Lieutenant General Jacko Page CB OBE, and the Commander 16 Air Assault Brigade, Brigadier N. R. M. Borton DSO MBE who represent the present day Airborne Forces, to invite all those who served in the British 6th Airborne Division during the Normandy Landings to attend the events to mark the 70th anniversary of the Normandy Landings. All are welcome.
2. Aim. The aim of the events marking the 70th Anniversary is to ensure that a grateful nation’s thanks are passed to those who took part in this decisive action and particularly to the memory of those who gave their lives to ensure the success of the landings. It is important that the focus should be on the surviving veterans as they commemorate their fallen comrades without whom the liberation of Normandy would not have been possible.
3. Security. The Colonel Commandant has invited Colonels in Chief, members of the Government and senior military officers to attend the commemoration. Due to the rank of the guests and profile of the Regiment it is necessary for people likely to be meeting VVIPs to register with RHQ PARA (para 11) and provide details of their party. All guests should ensure that they are in possession of a ticket and valid photo ID when attending ticketed events.
4. Programme. Whilst we are aware that there are many events in the area over the 5/6 June, the following programme has been agreed with the Mayors and local French authorities:
Wed 4 Jun 14
1800 – 2030hrs
Putot En Auge
Military Band, Red Devils, Local Band
Thurs 5 Jun 14
Unveiling Merville Bty
VVIP, Col Comdt only
Pegasus Memorial Museum
Unveiling of a Centurion Tank
VVIPs, Buffet, Bar, (Ticketed)
Bust unveiling Watson MC
Presentation of the Maj J Watson MC bust
Para drop by soldiers of 16 Air Assault Bde
Breville Les Monts
Breville X rds
Breville Les Monts
Band, Red Devils, P&D Band display
Merville Battery Reception
Curry and band music
Fri 6 Jun 14
X-rds Wreath laying 13 PARA
Col Comdt, Band, veterans
Col Comdt, veterans
VVIP, Col Comdt, Veterans (Ticketed)
VVIP, Col Comdt, Veterans
5. Travel and Accommodation. Please make your own arrangements. Many will have travel and accommodation reservations already in place, however if not RHQ can recommend Tours International who have supported RHQ at commemorations for a number of years. Tours International can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 01892 515825.
6. Help with costs. As a reminder, the following financial assistance is available to veterans wishing to attend this commemoration:
a. The Airborne Forces Security fund through RHQ will reimburse valid travel costs of £250 each for the veteran, his or her partner and his or her carer if one is required. To get this subsidy please complete the attached form (click here) and forward a copy of your travel documentation as directed on the proforma. If you travel with Tours International there is no need to apply as they will do it for you and subtract from your bill.
b. Money is additionally available through Heroes Return, a lottery funded charity which supports veterans returning to commemorative events. You will need to apply separately for the grant as directed at www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/prog_heroes_return.
7. Veteran Lunch Reception. This lunch will be held at 1230hrs on Thurs 5 Jun 2014 at the Ranville Salle de Fete. It will provide an opportunity to meet with friends, have a buffet lunch and a drink with other veterans and to meet with the VVIP in a reserved area. The invitation is for a veteran and his partner/carer. A band will provide music and the Red Devils Free Fall Team will give a display.
8. Memorial Service Veteran Area. The seated area at the front will be provided primarily for veterans and partner/carer. The service will be held in the main body of the Cemetery. As in past years there will be plenty of standing room for anyone who wishes to attend but the ticketed area is designed to give priority to the veteran and disabled visitors.
9. Veteran Viewing Area. This is an area on the DZ close to the parachutist RV location to enable veterans to meet with the soldiers once they are released from the RV. Although this area will not be ticketed the Gendarmes will only allow access to those with veteran car passes.
10. Veteran Car Pass. This car pass is designed in agreement with the Brigade Territoriale Autonome to enable them to recognise veterans and ease their passage across the Divisional area.
11. Registration. Those veterans wishing to attend the ticketed events should register their names with RHQ PARA and complete the attached proforma. The proforma requires Name, Rank Number and Unit details of your service with 6th Airborne Division and will ask you to indicate which of the following you require:
a. Tickets to the Veterans Reception.
b. Tickets to the Veteran seating area at the Ranville Memorial Service.
c. Access to DZ viewing area.
d. A veteran name and unit ID badge.
e. A veteran car pass.
12. Conclusion. The focus of the commemorations is on the fallen and the surviving veterans so please register your intention to travel to Normandy so that we can provide as much support as possible to make this occasion a success.
Tickets available via: http://paracharity.org/wp-content/uploads/Normandy-70th-Anniversary-Registration-Form.pdf