2 Nov 2008

Normandy veterans vow to keep meeting

6:10 pm on 2 November 2008

New Zealand war veterans from the Normandy landings say they will keep meeting despite their parent body closing down.

Veterans from Britain, France, Canada, the United States and New Zealand who took part in the D-Day offensive on the coast of France in June 1944 held a commemorative service at the National War Memorial in Wellington on Sunday.

The British Normandy Veterans Association has decided its membership is falling too fast to continue past next year's 65th anniversary of the landings.

But the president of the New Zealand branch, David Christison, says his members have decided to carry on until the the last man has to 'turn out the light'.

Mr Christison says the association has already begun organising next year's even to reunite those remaining from the 10,000 New Zealand air force and navy personnel who served in the Normandy campaign.

At Sunday's service, the general secretary of the Normandy Veterans Association Peter Hodge reminded those present that the hundreds of thousands of young people who landed on D-Day in 1944 could not have known if the war would be won or lost.

Mr Hodge said their sacrifice must be honoured and never forgotten, however few veterans still survive.

He then laid a wreath for all those who served, were wounded and killed in the Normandy campaign.