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Taxi Charity takes veterans to Normandy


Veterans at Ranville in Normandy on 6 June 2023

Volunteer cabbies from the Taxi Charity took a group of veterans to Normandy for the 79th anniversary of D-Day.


For 75 years, the London-based Taxi Charity for Military Veterans has been supporting veterans. For many years, they have been taking veterans to Normandy to the D-Day commemorations so that they can pay their respects to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.


This year, WWII veterans on the trip included Doug Baldwin and Mervyn Kersh who landed on Gold Beach, Ernie Davis who spent D-Day on patrol looking for U boats and minesweeping, and Marie Scott who transmitted messages to and from the beaches on D-Day. Younger veterans on the five day trip included Ben Mead who served in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan; and Chris Langford who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Veteran Ben Mead with Taxi Charity chairman Brian Heffernan at Grangues on 7 June 2023

The relationship that builds between the volunteer drivers and the veterans is very special and there are always magic moments. This year during the trip, WWII veteran Roy Smith who landed on Sword Beach on D-Day with the 4th Dorsets, told Micky Harris, one of the volunteer cab drivers, that in 1944 he managed to get ashore without getting his feet wet. He told Micky that he "always felt guilty about that". Without hesitation, Micky took him into the sea and removed that guilt.


WWII veteran Roy Smith with Taxi Charity volunteer Micky Harris

Roy, from Sittingbourne, said: "Being there brought back the memories of just how many men lost their lives. I had always wanted to go back to that beach, but never realised just how much it would mean to me to do so. I was one of the lucky ones."


WWII veteran Marie Scott, from Surrey, said: "Our trip to Normandy was, once again, not only highly enjoyable but, because the nearer we get to the 80th anniversary of D-Day, the more relevant and meaning these occasions become to keep alive those precious memories is absolutely vital. The Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, with all the help and support it gives us, does just that. So a big Thank You."


WWII veteran Marie Scott at Pegasus Memorial Museum on 5 June 2023

Brian Heffernan, London cab driver and chairman of the Taxi Charity, said: "Our volunteer cab drivers are quite simply incredible and I am so very proud of what they do for the charity. They are totally committed to ensuring a balance between the veterans paying their respects to those who didn’t return whilst having a wonderful time. A huge thank you to everyone who volunteered and made it such a success."


 

Itinerary


Sunday 4 June 2023

  • Ferry from Portsmouth to Ouistreham


Monday 5 June 2023

  • Ceremony a the Pegasus Memorial

  • Lunch at Colleville-Montgomery

  • Visit to Ver-sur-Mer British Memorial


Tuesday 6 June 2023

  • Ceremony at the Ranville CWGC for the Paras or Royal British Legion service at Bayeux CWGC

  • Lunch at Colleville-Montgomery

  • Free afternoon


Wednesday 7 June 2023

  • Service at Grangues for the gliders’ casualties

  • Lunch at Ranville

  • Inauguration of the new monument for the Glider Pilot Regiment at Ranville


Thursday 8 June 2023

  • Short ceremony at Bill Millin’s statue at Colleville-Montgomery with the Mayor

  • Lunch under the Marquee

  • Ferry from Ouistreham to Portsmouth

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