Picture of the D-Day landings in Normandy, France
June 6 event marks 69 years since Allied forces invaded Normandy to battle Hitler's occupying troops.
Veterans at a service at Bayeux Cemetery on the 65th anniversary of the Normandy landings
West Midland war veterans are to retrace their historic steps to the site of the Normandy D-Day landings after 69 years – courtesy of Birmingham’s TOA Taxis.
The Birmingham taxi firm has volunteered to ferry 16 Second World War survivors by convoy to the D-Day beaches for the June 6 commemoration of the Allies’ invasion and the bloody battle against the Nazi occupiers.
The veterans, all from the Birmingham and West Midlands, are now in their 90s and will initially be driven to the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, near Lichfield, in four black cabs following a send-off by the Lord Mayor John Lines from Birmingham Council House.
The convoy will be accompanied to Staffordshire by the committee and members of the Normandy Veterans Association, including President Tony Martin, Chairman Les Reeves and Secretary Peter Lloyd.
Veterans will gather for a memorial service at noon at their NVA plot, led by the Rev Mike Charles, and followed by an act of remembrance where the Last Post will be sounded and a wreath-laying ceremony performed.
TOA Taxis Secretary Brian Lee said: “We’re delighted to be supporting the Normandy Veterans Association after the success of last year’s convoy to Holland, and we are honoured to be escorting the veterans and attending the memorial that will commemorate their heroic service to the country.”
President of the Normandy Veterans Association Tony Martin and Secretary Peter Lloyd said the trek to France could be the last for some of the survivors of the D-Day landings.
“We are usually in Normandy on this day, but we are saving our finances, efforts and resources for next year to take part in the various parades and services in Normandy for the 70th anniversary.
“This may be the last organised visit, bearing in mind the health and average age of the veterans,” they added.