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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 February, 2004, 21:08 GMT
Veterans may need D-Day passes
D-Day landings
The D-Day landings were a turning point in World War II
War veterans wishing to mark the 60th anniversary of D-Day in France this year have been told they may need passes because of security concerns.

Thousands of ex-servicemen and women are expected to attend the event to mark the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings in June 1944.

But the authorities in France have said veterans without correct identification will not be allowed to take part.

A meeting is due to be held next week to discuss the issue.

I think that the upswell of interest has perhaps caught a lot of people on the hop on both sides of the Channel
Tim Lerwill, British Embassy

Tim Lerwill, of the British Embassy, said many people would be disappointed if the perceived threat of terrorism prevented them attending what is to be the final D-Day commemoration.

He said: "I think it's a great shame.

"I think that the upswell of interest has perhaps caught a lot of people on the hop on both sides of the Channel.

"There are a lot of people who may well not have been to the 50th anniversary who suddenly realise this is to be the last official commemoration of the event and wish to be there."

D-Day veteran Reg Hill, from Birchington, near Margate in Kent, is one of those who hopes to travel to France in June.

'Dragging their feet'

He said the British government was not doing enough to help its veterans meet the requirements for photo identification.

He said: "The French government have put thousands of pounds into it but our government are still dragging their feet.

"They couldn't care less as long as we got rid of Hitler when we did."

Allied forces, many of whom sailed from Kent and Sussex, landed on the Normandy coast before liberating France from German occupation during World War II.

Several heads of goverment, including British Prime Minister Tony Blair, German Chancellor Gerhard Shroeder and US President George Bush, have been invited to the ceremonies in June.

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01 Jan 04  |  Europe
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17 Oct 03  |  Europe


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