D-Day veterans take trip on Royal Marine offshore raiding crafts

D-Day veterans have watched a display by serving Royal Marines and taken a trip on modern-day offshore raiding crafts.

The group, including some former commandos, placed red life jackets over their suits and medals before climbing aboard.

Royal Marines welcome MV Boudicca into Poole
Royal Marines welcome MV Boudicca into Poole (Andrew Matthews/PA)

They were taken on a trip around Poole Harbour, where the Royal British Legion’s cruise ship MV Boudicca docked on Tuesday morning.

Here come the @RoyalMarines! It’s Day 3 of our @PoppyLegion voyage for #DDay75 and #Boudicca is escorted into @PooleHarbourCpic.twitter.com/afNb4OJuXQ

— Central Band RBL (@CentralBand) June 4, 2019

Some 250 Second World War heroes are taking part in the week-long voyage to commemorate 75 years since D-Day.

Schoolchildren and wellwishers waved flags to greet the veterans, aged 91 to 101, as they walked down the gang plank.

Veterans disembark in Poole
Veterans disembark in Poole (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Jack Mortimer, 95, spoke to the primary school pupils about his war experiences before they taught him the Baby Shark dance.

Jack Mortimer sings Baby Shark with schoolchildren in Poole
Jack Mortimer sings Baby Shark with schoolchildren in Poole (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

He said he was a despatch driver taking a jeep of ammunition and mortars on D-Day.

“After that I can’t tell you what happened, I get so emotional about it,” he said.

Mr Mortimer, from Leeds, served with 12th Ordnance Beach Detachment on D-Day.

Asked about speaking to the schoolchildren at Poole Harbour, he replied: “I can’t get the words out. It’s been brilliant, delightful, absolutely tremendous.”

Eric Carter, 94, gets to grips with a Royal Marine Jackal vehicle
Eric Carter, 94, gets to grips with a Royal Marine Jackal vehicle (Andrew Matthews/PA)

George Winter, from Reading, was a quartermaster with the Royal Navy on D-Day, serving on HMS Harrier.

He described the welcome at Poole as “absolutely wonderful”.

“We were mine-sweeping the beaches clear of sea mines,” Mr Winter said. “We led the way across the ocean so the men could get ashore without getting blown up.

“We were there on June 5, with the boys landing on June 6. As dawn came, we had to get out of the way so they could get to shore.”

Veteran Trevor Stacy meets members of the Royal Marines
Veteran Trevor Stacy meets members of the Royal Marines (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Mr Winter, who has five great-grandchildren, said he was “18 years, one month and three days old on D-Day”.

The veterans will attend the national commemorative event in Portsmouth on Wednesday before travelling to Normandy for events in Bayeux and Arromanches.

The ship returns to Portsmouth on Saturday before concluding its journey in Dover on Sunday.

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