D-Day veteran to travel from USA to New Forest to commemorate 70th anniversary (From Bournemouth Echo)
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D-Day veteran to travel from USA to New Forest to commemorate 70th anniversary
A D-DAY veteran will travel from the United States to the New Forest to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings.
Herb Simmons was stationed at Lymington Advanced Landing Ground in the build-up to D-day and is believed to be the last surviving member of the 50th Fighter Squadron.
Mr Simmons, who is from North Carolina, will unveil a new information panel produced by the New Forest Remembers World War II project at the special event in the New Forest on June 7.
Hosted by Charles Burnett III at Newtown Park near Lymington, the event will include a display of several old World War Two warbirds including two Spitfires, a Hurricane, Harvard and Piper Club along with military vehicles.
There will also be a full Red Arrows display at 5.30pm.
The panel which will be unveiled, will be based at the Lymington airfield, which was one of five advanced landing grounds – or temporary airfields – built in the New Forest to support the invasion of Normandy in June 1944.
Mr Simmons was in his early twenties when he was stationed at Lymington but still remembers the kindness and generosity of the local people who would bring fresh fruit and vegetables to the soldiers.
John Levesley, education officer for Friends of the New Forest Airfields said: “Most of the airmen had never been outside of the USA before. Many were from cities and found life in rural wartime England a cultural shock.
“They had to improvise many of the facilities they needed, including showers.
“When the advanced landing grounds first opened, some even lacked mains power and telephones and telegrams were sent to local post offices for delivery to the airfields.”
All proceeds to the event will go to Help for Heroes. Entrance is £5 per person on foot and £10 per group in car.
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