Lawrence Mackie
Lawrence Mackie was one of the young men who stormed ashore during Operation Overlord

British armed forces veterans have begun free tours to the Normandy beaches, funded by the Libor bank fines. These are arranged by the Royal British Legion tour operator, Remembrance Travel.

The tours will take place in May, September and October and will give Normandy veterans – now mostly in their 90s – the chance to revisit the Normandy beaches, with their carer and a close relative. The tours will be accompanied by a medic and a guide from the Royal British Legion. Last year marked the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings, which proved to be such a turning point in World War 2.

The five-day tours will depart from London and will include a ferry crossing from Calais to Dover, accommodation, visits to Pegasus Bridge, Juno, Sword, Gold Beaches, Bayeaux Cathedral and war cemetery, plus visits to personally specified cemeteries too.

The Rt. Hon George Osborne, The Chancellor of the Exchequer, said: “It is only right that all D-Day veterans have the chance to travel to Normandy, where they so bravely fought for our freedom. I’m delighted that we’ve been able to use £1m of Libor funds for this purpose, using fines from those who have demonstrated the worst kind of values is being used to support those who have demonstrated the very best of British values.

“Veterans wishing to travel with the Royal British Legion can go on tours that started in May, and running in September and October, and I have also provided funding to smaller charities to allow veterans to travel in smaller groups to the beaches in June. This means that any veteran who wishes to will have the opportunity to travel to the beaches where they fought to defend Britain and secure peace across Europe.”

Dennis Bolter
Dennis Bolter is another D-Day veteran who will be taking a journey to Normandy with the Royal British Legion

Nichola Rowlands, Remembrance Travel, says: “This is a wonderful gift of remembrance and we welcome this generous offer. Operation Overlord is often referred to as the greatest air and seaborne invasion ever seen. The courage, determination and sacrifice of the men who landed in Normandy will never be forgotten. The Royal British Legion is the National Custodian of Remembrance and, in partnership with Arena Travel, has designed these Journeys especially for veterans and members of their families.”

For Normandy veterans wishing to benefit from this tour, they need to apply via Remembrance Travel’s website, or telephone Remembrance Travel’s tour operator, Arena Travel on 01473 660800.

Remembrance Travel organises a series of journeys of remembrance to World War I and World War II sites. They also offer bespoke group tours to veterans, groups of friends and societies/clubs.