Second World War veteran Alan McQuillin from Kemble to travel to Normandy to mark 70th anniversary of D-Day landings
A SECOND World War veteran from Kemble is making his way to Normandy next week for what he believes might be the final time.
Alan McQuillin’s emotional trip will mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings on June 6.
However, the 90-year-old said he thinks there are just not enough Normandy veterans left in the country to continue the annual trips after 2014.
“The Normandy Veteran Association is closing down in November,” he said.
“There will be a ceremony in London which the Queen is going to. There are around 600 members left out of what used to be 16,000.”
Mr McQuillin is not one to miss out on what could be the last anniversary trip and has said he will “definitely” be going to Normandy on June 3 and will spend around five days there.
“Every time I go it seems to get more emotional than ever,” he added.
“I am looking forward to it though. I’ve got connections there and know a French family on a farm. When my wife was alive we always used to visit France. I love the lifestyle. I think I should have been a French man.”
Mr McQuillin served in the RAF in Bomber Command and Operational Training Command, and travelled by boat to Graye-sur-Mer in Normandy in treacherous conditions a day after D-Day on June 7.
He was only 21-years-old at the time. This year the Big Lottery Fund will be paying for the trip for all the veterans and Mr McQuillin was even offered £200 from Marketing Punch in Gloucester.
He almost did not make the trip one year after the government refused to provide the veterans with any funding to mark the occasion. It was only when students and staff from Cirencester College stepped in to help that he managed to attend the 65th anniversary event.
Mr McQuillin will be leaving for this year’s 70th anniversary event in the early hours of June 3, accompanied by a good friend. He will mark his 91st birthday while on the trip before returning home later in the week.
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