Charles and Camilla meet Glider Regiment veterans


Staff reporter (Leader Live)

HUNDREDS of British D-Day veterans are in Normandy for a series of events marking the 70th anniversary of the greatest military invasion in history.

A huge security operation has swung into operation as 17 heads of state, including the Queen, prepare to arrive in northern France today.

More than 650 ex-servicemen are said to have travelled to commemorate the invasion which changed history.

Yesterday the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall met veterans of the Glider Pilot Regiment at Pegasus Bridge, the first assault of the D-Day invasion.

In an incredible feat of flying immortalised in the 1960s film The Longest Day, a team of Horsa gliders silently landed to take the strategically-vital bridge and another nearby.

Led by Major John Howard, they captured the bridges after a 15-minute skirmish, in which two soldiers were killed and 14 wounded.

Charles and Camilla met at the nearby Café Gondrée, overlooking Pegasus Bridge, the first building to be liberated from Nazi-occupied France.

They then walked across Pegasus Bridge and were guided to the Glider Pilot Memorial where veterans and serving members lined up.

The visit comes as world leaders, including Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin, arrived in Normandy for the 70th anniversary today.

An international ceremony will today held be at Sword Beach, the easternmost of the five landing areas for Allied forces on D-Day.

In a packed day of engagements yesterday, Charles and Camilla viewed power boats involved in the Normandy landings and lunched with veterans at Ranville.

Charles – the colonel-in-chief of the Parachute Regiment – later witnessed a commemorative parachute drop by British, American, French and Canadian troops.

And last night a midnight vigil was held at Pegasus Bridge, marking the moment the gliders made their momentous landing to capture the structure.

Troops from 1st Battalion The Rifles and the Army Air Corps marched across the bridge to Café Gondrée for a champagne toast and a midnight firework display.

See full story in the Leader

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