A massive operation to honour the preparation work of D-Day is taking place across the UK in advance of the 80th D-Day memorial events next in 2024.
This latest Routes of Remembrance event is a poignant new initiative set up by The Veterans Charity, which will see 9 wreaths of tribute touring the country and even overseas.
It follows the huge success of the Poppies to Paddington event held in conjunction with Great Western Railway, in 2020, which saw more than 200 wreaths make their way on trains to the station war memorial on the morning of Armistice Day, November 11.
The scope of the event is truly staggering as 9 wreaths will travel one each across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. As well as others that will come from the United States, Canada, the Commonwealth, NATO, and France visiting locations linked to the liberation of Europe.
Danny Greeno, CEO of The Veterans Charity, said they had built on the success of previous years to create something unique.
“The way this has snowballed is amazing and it has really taken on a life of its own – The Veterans Charity was formed to honour the men of the Ox and Bucks Regiment who captured Pegasus Bridge in the opening minutes of D-Day.
“We now have the first wreath touring all over England’s historic sites linked to the Normandy landings”.
Iain Henderson, event organiser and a trustee of The Veterans Charity, added:
“The Routes of Remembrance have grown from keeping remembrance on track in the pandemic, to wreaths travelling across the UK, North America and a special wreath to Gibraltar and more recently wreaths have headed down under and reside at the Australian National War Memorial and at sites in New Zealand.
“This year we have been engaging with more communities to honour the work that made Operation Overlord possible.”
The first wreath was created by the Battling On CIC and was taken on Veterans Day onboard HMS Blazer, along with a number of Veterans and aviation photographer Mr Ian Harding, out into Falmouth Bay.
HMS Blazer then liaised with a Royal Navy Merlin helicopter of 820 Naval Air Squadron from RNAS Culdrose who winched the wreath up to the helicopter and who then flew in to the helipad at Falmouth Docks.
Lt Cdr Trevor Brookes RN, met the helicopter in a WW2 Jeep of D-Day vintage owned and driven by a Royal Navy veteran Mr Ray Froggett, to take it on the final trip of the day by land, to the Armed Forces Day military village in Falmouth to handover to Cdr Steve Henaghan, the Chief of Staff and Deputy Naval Regional Commander from HMS Flying Fox.
The Senior Service helped start off what we hope will be a very special tour and we hope to match the experiences as it travels around key D-Day venues across the country.
To find out more about our events and how you could get involved, go to https://www.veteranscharity.org.uk/remembrance.