VETERANS from the front line and the home front have been sharing their experiences of the Second World War with schoolchildren to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day today (Friday, June 6).
Littlehampton’s waterfront Look & Sea visitor centre, in Surrey Street, hosted an afternoon tea party at which the two generations met.
The 30 veterans include soldiers, sailors and airmen who took part in the Normandy landings in June, 1944, the allied invasion which was one of the major turning points in the war.
Also among them was a Bevin boy, who served his country in a Nottinghamshire coal mine, a Dutch woman, whose family sheltered Jews from the occupying Germans, and others who worked in munitions factories or were in the Land Army.
The event rounded off a week of studying the war for pupils from River Beach Primary School, with dozens of children visiting the centre in the morning to find out more about Littlehampton’s role in the preparations for D-Day, and 16 having the privilege of meeting the veterans in the afternoon.
Staff at the centre also entered into the wartime spirit, dressing in period outfits and serving a special menu all week, including boiled beef and carrots, mutton hot pot and spotted dick with custard.
Look & Sea trustee and volunteer team member Valerie Sharp, who helped to co-ordinate the event, said: “This is probably the last time that veterans of the Second World War will come together at a commemoration like this in Littlehampton.
“Although this is the year that the nation is marking the centenary of the First World War, we felt that the 70th anniversary of D-Day should not be overlooked, and it will be wonderful to have the veterans with us to tell their stories in their own words.”
The event has received support from the River Ward Panel, under the Community First Matched Funding programme.