Last Post for the heroes of Normandy

Prime Minister Gordon Brown joined veterans yesterday to mark 65 years since the Normandy Landings at one of the last major gatherings of those who fought.

He and defence secretary Bob Ainsworth attended the evensong service at Westminster Abbey with hundreds of those who risked their lives in an operation that marked a turning point in the course of the Second World War.

The Normandy Veterans' Association's membership is declining as the years pass and this is expected to be the last significant anniversary gathering.

The Queen's cousin, the Duke of Gloucester - who is patron of the NVA - also attended the service during which he will give a reading and lay a wreath at the grave of the Unknown Warrior.

The organisation was formed in 1981 at a meeting between four ex-servicemen arranged by Eric Bulman, who served in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, attached to the 8th King's Royal Hussars.

The landings in June 1944 to establish Allied troops on Normandy soil was the largest amphibious operation in history.

American, British, and Canadian forces landed simultaneously at five points along the Normandy shoreline and began the liberation of France.

Reverend Michael Macey, Minor Canon of Westminster told the congregation: "Here we are united with those who have gone before us."

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