FIVE D-Day veterans from Swanage reflected on a significant moment in history during a visit to a new Purbeck-based war exhibition.
Ray Wiseman, Brian Guy, Peter Lovett, Lee Wrake and Cliff Brown were welcomed on-board one of Swanage Railway’s trains by chairman Peter Sills, and members of the Royal British Legion including one of their standard bearers.
The gentlemen then travelled to the Purbeck at War exhibition, put together by Swanage Railway volunteers, which is based at Corfe Castle train station, 70 years after they took part in the historic D-Day landings on Normandy in 1944.
Peter Sills, Swanage Railway chairman, said: “There can’t be many small towns that are home to five D-Day veterans who all took part in the assault on the Normandy beaches on June 6, 1944, which was the largest and most daring maritime invasion in history.”
He added: “It was very moving and humbling to meet Swanage's five D-Day veterans and a real pleasure to chat to them about their part in history.
“We wanted to mark the 70th anniversary of the historic invasion of Nazi-held mainland Europe and also say a big thank you to five very brave men who fought for their country at the time of its greatest need.”
Peter said that an important exercise for D-Day took place on Studland Beach with the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, Supreme Allied Commander General Dwight D Eisenhower and King George VI, who travelled to Swanage by train.
Cliff Brown served on a Royal Navy minesweeper that took part in D-Day and with the coming of peace, became a signalman at Worgret Junction, which is the start of the branch line from Wareham down to Swanage.
Lee Wrake worked with the Royal Air Force radar team and landed with American forces on Omaha Beach, while Royal Navy sailor Ray Wiseman was a signalman launching land craft filled with troops on the British Sword beach in Normandy.
Peter Lovett served with the British Army and took part in the D-Day landings on Juno Beach, while Brian Guy served with the Royal Engineers clearing the German invasion obstacles on Sword Beach.
For further information, go to swanagerailway.co.uk