Twinners pay their D-Day respects in France

SALUTE: The service at the island of Tatihou, Normandy and below Geoff Ackerman lays a wreath

SALUTE: The service at the island of Tatihou, Normandy and below Geoff Ackerman lays a wreath

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DOZENS of Bridport residents travelled to France to represent the town in a ‘poignant’ D-Day commemoration ceremony.

Members of the Bridport Twinning Association said this year’s visit to Saint-Vaas-la-Hougue was even more significant than usual.

The association visited the town for the 35th anniversary of the twinning but also to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day landings.

Mike Farmer, chairman of the Bridport Twinning Association described the trip as a ‘poignant experience’.

He said: “The welcome was as warm and generous as ever most of our party stayed with old friends and some new hosts.”

A group of around 48 Bridport residents, including members of the Royal British Legion, Former mayor of Bridport Geoffrey Ackerman and committee member Pierre Freullet arrived in the town, where they were met by members of the St-Vaas-la-Hougue twinning committee, many of which have become great friends with the Bridport members.

A civic reception hosted by mayor Jean Le Petit of Saint-Vaas-la-Hougue marked their arrival.

The group were treated to a full schedule of events over the two days, these were laid on by Madeline Pinteaux, president of the twinning association in Normandy.

These included a visit to Utah Beach and its museum.

This beach is the furthest west of the five beaches designated for the D-day landings 70 years ago.

They represented Bridport by laying a wreath on the war memorial.

Freddie Carpenter, of the Bridport branch of the Royal British Legion, accompanied the Twinning Association for the ceremony. He said: “Original superbly restored vehicles were everywhere by the beach.

“Two German BMW motorcycles passed us with machine guns that would have been operated from the side car.”

He added: “The great thing about twinning is that when both sides are chatting to one another, I’d challenge anybody to tell the difference in nationality.”

  • BELLS across Bridport rang out to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings. The town, and West Dorset, hosted American troops as they prepared for the largest land, air and sea assault ever undertaken.

Church bells across the region were rung on Friday, June 6.

Resident Ivan Andrews said: “The many who sacrificed their lives in the cause of freedom were much in mind, so too were those who thankfully survived the ordeal and were able to return home, irrespective of injury.

“Meeting at the War Memorial afterwards a single red poppy had earlier been placed above the plaque bearing the names of the seven Bradpole men who sadly did not return from the war. A simple yet poignant token of remembrance and respect.”

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