England

D-Day veterans' homecoming diverted to Dover by Storm Miguel

MV Boudicca Image copyright Poole Harbour Commissioners
Image caption The MV Boudicca had been diverted to Dover

A ship carrying 255 D-Day veterans back from the commemorations in France was diverted because of the weather.

The MV Boudicca had been due to dock in Portsmouth for an official welcome home party and fireworks.

The Royal British Legion said adverse weather caused by Storm Miguel meant the ship had been diverted to Dover.

The charity urged people in the Kent town to "step up and give our Normandy heroes the welcome back they deserve".

The ship arrived at the Port of Dover at about 21:00 BST.

Storm Miguel has already hit Spain and the coast of western France, leaving three dead after a rescue boat overturned.

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Image copyright Poole Harbour Commissioners
Image caption A group of veterans had sailed from Dover

Bob Gamble, the charity's assistant director of commemorative events said: "Unfortunately the weather conditions mean that our veterans will miss out on the activity the people of Portsmouth had planned for them as they arrived back.

"We're encouraging people to do whatever they can this evening from heading to the coast to wave the ship in to holding lit phone screens towards the ship so the veterans can see them."

Hundreds of veterans gathered in northern France on Thursday to honour the sacrifice of those who died in the D-Day landings 75 years ago.

Wreaths were laid, a minute's silence was held and veterans linked arms and sang as they remembered the largest combined land, air and naval operation in history.

Some 156,000 Allied troops landed on Normandy beaches at the start of the campaign to liberate Nazi-occupied, north-west Europe.

Ex-servicemen sailed from Portsmouth and Dover for the events on the Brittany Ferries' MV Mont St Michel and the Royal British Legion-chartered MV Boudicca.

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