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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 May, 2004, 09:41 GMT 10:41 UK
Free passports for the over-75s
Normandy landings
The thousands who perished in the landings will soon be honoured
The government is to offer everyone over the age of 75 a free passport to mark the contribution in World War II.

They say up to 4.5 million people whose birthdays are on or before 2 September 1929 will be eligible.

The scheme will be launched later this year and its announcement coincides with D-Day commemorations.

Last year the government gave free one year passports to D-Day veterans to allow them to travel to the events and visit war graves.

The free passports - compared to a normal charge of 42 - will be given to those who did not fight as well as veterans, to mark the contribution of those on the Home Front.

Home Secretary David Blunkett, who will herald the scheme during a visit to Portsmouth on Wednesday, said: "The determination of those who fought and worked during World War II must never be forgotten.

"Their courage and sacrifices changed the course of history and liberated Europe from Nazi oppression and secured the east from Japanese aggression.

"It's only right that veterans should be able to return easily to the battlefields where they fought bravely and where their comrades died, and that those who worked hard on the Home Front should be rewarded as well."

Royal British Legion secretary general Brigadier Ian Townsend said: "The free one-year passport scheme has proved very popular.

"The Legion alone has accredited well over 200 applications and I'm delighted that even more veterans will be able to benefit from an extended scheme that will allow them to revisit former battlefields in the years to come.

"The inclusion of all those who supported on the Home Front is a particularly welcome gesture."

Pupils follow D-Day veterans back
05 May 04  |  Hampshire/Dorset
Veterans may need D-Day passes
03 Feb 04  |  England
Should Germans attend D-day events?
06 Jan 04  |  Have Your Say

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