D-Day veterans aged 94 and 95 parachute into Normandy 75 years after invasion
A 95-year-old World War Two veteran said it was wonderful in every way to be able to parachute into Normandy 75 years after he did so for D-Day.
Harry Read, 95, and John Hutton, 94, embarked on a tandem jump this afternoon over Sannerville following a display around 280 parachutists commemorating the Allied invasion.
The ex-servicemens jump with the Red Devils parachute team was in danger of being cancelled due to delays and technical difficulties but they pulled it off in the end.
The pair took off from Duxford in Cambridgeshire and leapt over France from between 800 and 1,000 feet and landed in fields overlooked by poppies.
The area was the original drop zone for the 8th (Midlands) Parachute Battalion, who went on to destroy bridges in a bid to restrict German movements during the missions.
They were the first two out of a Cessna aircraft and were followed by a 5,000 sq ft Union Flag.
A problem with civilian aircraft availability meant the crew had to wait for another aircraft to be found and were in a race against time to get into French airspace early enough to get clearance to land.
Mr Read, from Bournemouth, Dorset, took part in the D-Day landings as a 20-year-old wireless operator with the Royal Signals and had a battery the size of a toolbox strapped to his right leg when he was pushed out a plane on June 6, 1944.
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After todays jump, the retired Salvation Army officer said: I feel good. My health is good and my mind is still ticking away very nicely.
I thought the jump was brilliant. I just had thoughts of anticipation after looking forward to it.
Everything is worth the wait. The jump was wonderful in every way.
I couldnt believe the drop was going to be postponed in any way because I had his assurance from God.
If that had happened I was going to be examining my faith.
I dont think Ill do another jump again.
Known to his friends as Jock, Mr Hutton, from Stirling, Scotland, was 19 when he served in the 13th Lancashire Parachute Battalion .
He said it was great to be back on French soil and that its such a relief to get the 75th D-Day anniversary out of the way.
But he was concerned the jump wouldnt go ahead when he looked out of the window and saw how much mist there was.
He said: All this bloody way and were not going to get out of the aircraft.
Mr Hutton said the landing wasnt as smooth as he hoped and joked about having a sore backside after he landed on a bunch of boulders.
Reflecting on his jump in 1944, Mr Hutton said he enjoyed Read More – Source