Tulip Radio’s Chris and Jan report back from D-Day

Jan Whitbourn and Chris Carter beside the rare 1942 vehicle.
Jan Whitbourn and Chris Carter beside the rare 1942 vehicle.
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Local farmers A H Carter Farms have owned a very rare 1942 Austin K2 ambulance for over 55 years.

Chris Carter went to France in the ambulance in 1994 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Allied Forces landing on the beaches of Normandy – D-Day. He felt it would be a wonderful experience to do the same for the 70th anniversary this year, and I went along for the experience.

It was especially poignant that this year is probably the final time many veterans will have been able to make this unique trip since the youngest of them is likely to be 88 years old.

In preparation, several period items were bought, such as two stretchers, a First Aid tin, satchels, arm bands and so on.

As well as military cemeteries, we visited all the British Sector Beaches, including Arromanches, where Chris fulfilled his lifelong ambition to drive his ambulance along the sand, just like many thousands of similar vehicles did 70 years ago.

It was a huge privilege to be there enjoying a unique atmosphere that will probably never be commemorated in that manner again in our lifetime and to do it all in a 72-year-old vehicle.

Jan expressed thanks to Harold Payne, from the Anglia Motel at Fleet Hargate, for his work over 20 years in helping veterans make the pilgrimage and for his assistance in planning their trip, and Spalding branch RNA chairman Keith Crawford and his wife Yvonne. 
Jan said: “At the end of the momentous trip we were extremely moved, bot only by the occasion itself, but also by the immense respect and kindness shown by local people to the veterans .”