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Last Updated: Saturday, 5 June, 2004, 17:28 GMT 18:28 UK
Veterans in D-Day parade
The parade which marked the 60th anniversary of D-Day
The parade marked the 60th anniversary of D-Day
Veterans of the World War II D-Day landings have been taking part in a parade in County Down.

More than 1,500 veterans and servicemen set off from Bangor Town Hall on Saturday to mark the 60th anniversary.

Men who fought on D-Day were reunited with old comrades for the parade to honour the thousands who died to liberate France from German occupation

They paused for a salute and minute's reflection at Trinity Church.

One veteran at the parade, Peter Aubrey, said he was determined to attend despite ill health.

"It's nice to see so many of my comrades from the Legion still able to keep in step, which is more than I can do," he said.

"I fought tooth and nail to get out of hospital to be here in time - I wouldn't have missed this."

British troops wait for the signal to move forward in Normandy
D-Day was a crucial turning point in the war with Nazi Germany
Although some of these veterans would have preferred to be with old comrades in Normandy, they were in a place with strong links to D-Day.

Bangor played a role in the invasion, with many US battleships setting sail from the County Down town for the beaches of Normandy.

Days before the invasion, General Eisenhower, supreme commander of the Allied Forces, came to the area to wish the troops well.

On 6 June 1944 some 5,000 allied vessels headed to the shores of occupied France in the biggest seaborne operation in history.

Of three million men who fought in the subsequent battle, about 250,000 were killed.

Meanwhile, Belfast veteran Billy McConnell was among a group of ex-servicemen who met Prince Charles at a service at Pegasus Bridge in northern France, which saw the first landings on D-Day.

On Saturday, the prince unveiled a replica of a horsa glider, used by British troops in the crucial invasion, and capture, of Pegasus Bridge.

BBC NI's Paul McKillion reports
"It was a day for the old soldiers and their memories"


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