The spirit of those who battled across the beaches of Normandy in World War Two is as strong as ever, according to the secretary of a veterans group.
Veterans and members of the public will gather at the National Memorial Arboretum on Saturday (June 6) for a service of remembrance.
Peter Lloyd, secretary of the Normandy Veterans Alliance for the Midlands, said the spirit of those still alive ensures that the memory of their comrades will live on.
Although visitors from across the UK will visit Alrewas to commemorate D-Day, the number of those attending who took part in the part in the campaign is reducing each year.
But Mr Lloyd believes the bond of the men holds them as firm now as it ever did.
“If you try to close associations like ours, veterans always say ‘no, no, no’ and insist branches should live on while the last man is still standing.
“But even when they are gone, younger members like myself will keep it going.
“Things like the Normandy campaign and Dunkirk being taught as part of the school curriculum have also sparked an interest in the history of this time.
“There are 30-or-so of our members planning to go and about the same number will be coming up from the Southend branch for example. There are quite a few visitors interested too as I’ve had a number of enquiries.”
Mr Lloyd originally joined the Normandy Veterans Alliance after being invited by one of those who had served on the beaches in 1944.
“I’m ex-services and I used to be a coach driver. One of my bosses then was a Normandy veteran and a veteran of Market Garden too and he asked me to go along to meeting,” he said. “His coach firm still take us to Normandy today.
“He asked me to be involved and I started as their standard bearer.
“All the parades and services – be they in Normandy or at the National Memorial Arboretum – are very significant and I’m very proud to take part.”
The service is open to the public and takes place at the Spirit of Normandy memorial at midday.
Mr Lloyd said: “There will be a wreath-laying service and The Last Post will be played before we have a gathering afterwards.
“The veterans still play an active part – our president is 98 and he’ll be there to lay the wreath.”