Page last updated at 12:59 GMT, Wednesday, 19 August 2009 13:59 UK

'Last ceremony' of D-Day veterans

Soldiers at Normandy Landings
Allied soldiers landing on Normandy beaches in 1944

A group of D-Day veterans will perform what they believe to be their last ceremony 65 years after they landed on beaches in France.

The Highlands and Islands Normandy Veterans NVA 60 Branch will hand their colours and standard into the care of Highland Council.

About 43 former forces personnel will gather at the Normandy Veterans Memorial in Dingwall on Sunday.

Wreaths will be laid before a parade and the taking of a salute.

Following a prayer of decommissioning by the Reverend Russel Smith, the branch standard bearer will present the colours to councillor Margaret Paterson.

They will be displayed in the council chamber in Dingwall.

Branch chairman Bill Loggie said: "We are delighted with and most appreciative of the response from Highland Council to our giving them future custody of our standard.

"The Normandy focus is invariably on 6 June 1944, D-Day, but it was felt more appropriate to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the successful end of the Normandy Campaign on 20 August 1944."

NVA 60 began in Dingwall in 1987 and has had more than 200 members from the Highlands and Islands, but also Orkney and Shetland.

Ill-health and old age has taken its toll on branch members a similar groups of World War II veterans.

Last September, a Scottish veteran of the World War II Arctic convoys said he believed the 2008 Armistice would be the last he and fellow sailors paraded together at London's Cenotaph.

Jock Dempster said it was his personal view it would be the final time they marched together.

But he said Scots veterans would continue to gather each year at Loch Ewe in Wester Ross, from where several convoys left.

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