LINCOLNSHIRE veterans on their annual D-Day pilgrimage to the beaches of Normandy were invited to join a big reception laid on for their American allies.
Harold Payne, owner of the Anglia Motel at Fleet, has been leading veteran tours to lay wreaths at the major cemeteries for the allied nations for the last 18 years.
And this year – as they conducted their own ceremony for the fallen at the ‘American beach’, Omaha – Harold and his party were honoured by members of a Mormon group who invited them to a big celebration at a 13th century chateau in Caen.
Three sashes were presented to Omaha veterans but a fourth was given to one of Harold’s party, Eric Toynton, from Boston, who was involved in the fight to take Pegasus Bridge.
Mr Payne said he and his party had never encountered such kindness – they were given lavish hospitality – and it all sprang from a chance meeting.
He said: “They even played God Save the Queen for us. They gave Eric Toynton one of the most beautiful sashes you ever did see. They said what he did at Pegasus Bridge was unbelievable.”
The party took with them wreaths of the nations – beautifully constructed from carnations – to be laid at some of the major cemeteries for the thousands of servicemen killed as the allies landed on the Normandy beaches in June 1944.