"It was fantastic to see everybody" - Tottington D-Day soldier returns to Normandy beach for moving memorial service (From This Is Lancashire)
"It was fantastic to see everybody" - Tottington D-Day soldier returns to Normandy beach for moving memorial service
A D-DAY veteran from Tottington returned to the beaches of Normandy to mark the 70th anniversary of the landings.
Neville Foote, aged 94, arrived on Juno beach on June 6, 1944, at the age of 23.
He was one of hundreds of veterans who gathered on the beaches again this month to mark the anniversary on Friday which was also attended by world leaders including US President Barack Obama, the Prime Minister David Cameron and the Queen.
Mr Foote, who travelled with his son Graham, said: “It was fantastic. We met Prince Charles and Camilla and Montgomery’s daughter (General Sir Bernard Montgomery, commander of Allied land forces on D-Day), and we were welcomed everywhere we went.
“It was fantastic to see everybody and they were so enthusiastic and welcoming.”
Mr Foote, of Turton Road, was a lance bombardier and a member of the 51st Highland Division of the Scottish Horse Regiment.
He was one of the first allied troops to breach enemy lines after the landing, advancing nine miles inland with a small unit of Royal Artillery gunners, close to the strategic town of Caen.
During the weeks after D=Day, his unit helped with the taking of Carpiquet Airport, and went to Falaise Gap where they saw off three German armies, and tens of thousands of soldiers surrendered.
After crossing the Seine at Le Havre, Mr Foote’s unit linked up with the Royal Scottish Regiments, and went on to fight Hitler’s youth army and the SS.
By September, they were involved in taking Nijmegen Bridge in Holland, four miles from an unsuccessful battle at Arnhem — the famous “a bridge too far” story.
At Christmas, Mr Foote’s unit were ordered to Ardennes in Belgium, where the Germans had broken through the American lines, dressed as GIs and using American equipment and vehicles.
Mr Foote, who has been a member of the Bolton branch of the Normandy Veterans’ Association, also had a part in relieving the Bergen-Belsen Nazi concentration camp in 1945.
After the war, Mr Foote, who is married to Lena, remained at Oldenberg in Northern Germany until he was A
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