Broughton House marks D-Day Anniversary with 1940s-themed party

A veteran care village marked the 80th anniversary of D-Day with a 1940s-themed party for residents, civic dignitaries and serving military personnel.

Among the residents attending the event at Broughton House in Salford was 100-year-old D-Day veteran Peter Belcher, who served in the forces from 1937 until 1949.

In June 1944 he was a corporal in the 2nd Battalion Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, 6th Airborne Division.

On D-Day its role was to capture and defend bridges over the River Orne and Caen Canal in Normandy – the latter was later known as Pegasus Bridge – to help protect the eastern flank for those landing on Sword Beach.

Other World War Two veterans at the party were Joe Jervis, aged 100, who served in the RAF, Cliff Butterworth, aged 98, who enlisted in the Royal Navy as a volunteer in 1942 when he was 17, and George Evans, also 98, who served in the Corps of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.

Jim Belcher, 98, joined the Royal Marines at 18 and on D-Day served on HMS Glenroy, which was one of the first ships to arrive at Gold Beach. He was part of a four-man crew on a landing craft responsible for dropping off troops from the Special Boat Squadron so they could access the beach.

Jim was able to travel to Normandy for the D-Day commemorations, accompanied by Broughton House’s director of care Jane Green and five other veterans.

Broughton House’s veterans’ mess was decked out in bunting for the party, which featured a buffet of 1940s-style food including spam fritters, Victory Scotch Eggs, Woolton Pie, corned beef sandwiches, vinegar cake, trifle and more. The menu was chosen by Broughton House residents and the food was provided by EF-group. Singer Les Stevens provided music from the era.

Among the guests were Diane Hawkins, who is the Lord-Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Councillor Tanya Burch, the Ceremonial Mayor of Salford, Barbara Griffin and Sheila Jones, chair and chief executive of The Booth Charities respectively, and representatives of the Manchester branch of the Parachute Regimental Association as well as other service people.

Broughton House chief executive Karen Miller said:

“As a nation we came together to remember and celebrate D-Day, and we are really pleased that Jim and Jane Green, our director of care, were able to go to France.

“A number of our residents for various reasons were not able to travel, and we felt that having our own celebration to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day would be right and proper as a way of acknowledging their service and sacrifice and to show our pride in what they achieved, while also remembering those comrades they lost.

“When we were thinking about how we would like to mark the occasion, our residents were keen to recognise those who are currently serving and continuing their legacy of their service, and so we invited people from a number of service organisations and regiments from across the north west.”

Peter said:

“It was overwhelming, a marvellous celebration. It’s good that people choose to remember.”

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