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D-Day remembered in Wellington

Veterans gathered for a group photograph on the steps of the National War Memorial.
Veterans gathered for a group photograph on the steps of the National War Memorial. (OH09-0349-037)

8 June 2009

A small group of hardy Normandy veterans braved cold Wellington weather to attend a special wreath-laying ceremony on Sunday to mark the 65th anniversary of D-Day.

The ceremony in the Hall of Memories at the National War Memorial was officiated by Principal Defence Chaplain Don Parker.

Normandy veteran Ken Boyden gave the D-Day address and spoke about the massive combined invasion which involved 6500 ships carrying more than 250,000 soldiers. 

He recalled the utter confusion and many deaths of the invasion and the terrible toll paid by both soldiers and French civilians. “The locals were told they had 30 minutes to leave their homes.”  He asked the audience to close their eyes and imagine what the chaos of Normandy must have been like. He also spoke about how there are only a few veterans of Normandy left now and that they will never forget their old comrades.

Wreaths were laid by a number of official guests including the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Chris Finlayson, representing the New Zealand Government, diplomats from the British High Commission, French Embassy, High Commission of Canada and United States Embassy, and Commodore Ross Smith, representing the New Zealand Defence Force.

The ode to the fallen was recited by Honorary Life President of the Normandy Veterans Association David Christison Legion d’Honneur. At the end of the ceremony veterans and guests laid poppies on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior.

D-Day Commemorations - Image Gallery

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