7 Jun 2009

Veterans mark 65th anniversary of D-Day

3:12 pm on 7 June 2009

The 65th anniversary of D-Day has been marked at the National War Memorial in Wellington by a call not to forget those who served at Normandy.

A group of 11 British and New Zealand World War II veterans attended a service to commemorate D-Day on Sunday.

It was the largest amphibious military operation in history, when more than 150,000 Allied soldiers landed on the Normandy beaches in France on 6 June, 1944.

About 10,000 New Zealanders were involved in air and sea support roles.

A commemorative wreath was laid at the Wellington service to remember all past and present comrades.

Frank Jones served in the British Navy, patrolling the sea around Juno beach as soldiers went to shore.

He says many of those who served at Normandy are now in their 80's and 90's, and find it hard to attend memorial services.

But he's hopeful others will continue to remember D-Day for many years.

The New Zealand Normandy Veterans Association has pledged to remain active, despite the International Normandy Veterans Association and many of its 83 branches planning to disband after the 65th anniversary due to falling membership.