DCSIMG

Anniversary sea crossing for war heroes

Ben Collins, Caddy Cadwallader, Colin Richardson, Matt Allmond, Stuart Gilks and Richard Bentley.  Photo supplied.

Ben Collins, Caddy Cadwallader, Colin Richardson, Matt Allmond, Stuart Gilks and Richard Bentley. Photo supplied.

A group of friends are repeating the journey made by thousands of Allied troops to mark the 70th anniversary of a decisive moment in World War II.

Former Paratrooper Stuart Gilks (50), originally from Crowland, and friend Richard Bentley of Bourne are among six people taking part in the Normandy Klepper Challenge, a three-day, 200km crossing of the English Channel to commemorate the D-Day Landings of June 6, 1944.

Stuart, who spent 25 years in the Parachute Regiment, is the driving force behind the challenge where the six-strong team will cross the English Channel in kleppers or folding canoes similar to ones used in the war.

The team set off from Portland Marina, Dorset, on June 4 between 1.30pm and 4pm for Arromanches-les-Bains where the original D-Day Landings took place.

Stuart said: “Our event was borne out of a wish to go over to Normandy and demonstrate our respects by doing something extreme as those soldiers’ efforts were 70 years ago.

“It’s not a re-enactment because all the soldiers went over in rafts and ships, but the original D-Day Landings will be in our minds and a motivating factor for us.”

 

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