They came, they saw, they remembered; D-DAY 70 YEARS ON tears in their EYES AS HEROES RETURN TO FRENCH BEACHES.
WITH medals glinting on their uniforms, the heroes of D-Day returned to Normandy yesterday to mark 70 years since the day that turned the tide of World War II.
Those who were able to travel to France looked out to the five beaches they landed on as young men, under ferocious fire from Nazi troops, during the largest seaborne invasion in history.
Like veterans watching on TV back in Scotland, there were tears in their eyes as they thought of friends killed as they set out to rid Europe of Hitler's forces.
Soldiers, airmen and sailors from more than a dozen Allied countries who attended ceremonies across the battle zone are all in their late 80s and 90s now. A few are over 100.
Some were in wheelchairs and others needed sticks.
Many will never return. The Normandy Veterans Association will be disbanded in November as time finally defeats them.
As a piper played a lament, British veterans recalled where they came ashore on Sword and Gold beaches, Canadian ex-servicemen did the same at Juno beach and US veterans likewise at Omaha and Utah beaches.
Kenneth Werrett, 92, landed on Sword beach on June 6, 1944, and went on to survive a mine strike and sniper attack.
Speaking at his home in Kirkintilloch, Dunbartonshire, the great-grandfather said: "I lost a couple of good mates.
"I was only a boy and you didn't realise how bad it was. You took things as they came and that was it. You didn't realise what you were going into."
David Johnston, 89, from Grangemouth, Stirlingshire, was an 18-year-old driver in the Royal Army Service Corps.
The father of two and greatgrandad of five said: "It was a few d-days after DDay that our lot got there. It must have been terrible for the first lot of lads."
I was only a boy. You didn't realise what you were going into KENNETH WERRETT
RESPECT Re-enacters on Gold beach and, below, British veterans
RESOLUTE Ken Scott, 98, leaves a service at Bayeux Cathedral. Right, a fellow veteran
PATRIOTIC Fred Carrier, 89, and Ray Sylvester, 94, on Utah Beach
VIBRANT British veteran Michael Shanahan and his wife in Ouistreham
POIGNANT US cemetery near Omaha beach and right, D-Day re-enacter POIGNANT US near Omaha
EMOTIONAL At the American cemetery in Colleville-sur-mer
RETURN Walsall branch of Normandy Veteran's Association in Caen
PRIDE Seaforth Highlanders of Holland march on Juno Beach
GOLDEN BOY Veteran Bill Price, 99, with old photos on Gold beach
SALUTE Ex-sevicemen at a ceremony in Colleville-sur-Mer
PIPER'S LAMENT Landing craft arrive on Gold beach at dawn
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|Publication:||Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)|
|Date:||Jun 7, 2014|
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