Members of a Chorley based historical society paid tribute to a local soldier on a recent trip to Normandy and the D-Day beaches.
Eleven members of Brindle Historical Society were joined by twenty other passengers on the nine day trip to France, organised and led by society secretary and historian, Steve Williams, who is also secretary of the Chorley Remembers project.
In the small Normandy village of Tilly-sur-Seulles, poppy crosses were laid at the grave of Trooper John Slater who worshipped at Brindle St Joseph’s RC Church in the village and was killed in action during the Normandy campaign in the summer of 1944.
Hoghton residents and Brindle St Joseph church members, Paul Walton and his wife Ursula described the short act of remembrance as ‘quite moving, rightly honouring the sacrifice of a brave soldier from the village who made the ultimate sacrifice’. It was a sentiment echoed by fellow parishioner, Gregson Lane resident Angela Livingstone.
Whilst in Normandy, passengers based themselves in the historic city of Caen and visited Dieppe, Fecamp, Mont St Michel, St Lo and Honfleur, as well as Bayeux to view the Norman Cathedral and the Bayeux Tapestry.
They then spent two days on the D-Day Beaches, scene of the landings by allied troops on the June 6, 1944 and visited the American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer overlooking Omaha Beach, featured in the film ‘Saving Private Ryan’.
They also visited Pegasus Bridge at Ranville, captured by British airborne troops just after midnight on the D-Day, and finished their trip with a visit to Arromanches, the site of one of the Mulberry harbours than enabled the allies to gain a foothold as they liberated Europe.
Commenting on the trip, organiser Mr Williams said: “Normandy is a very historic region but obviously you don’t got there without seeing the D-Day Beaches – virtually all the passengers said they wished they trip had been longer, as there was so much to see.”
On the journey down to Normandy, several passengers visited graves of relatives from the First World War who died in hospitals along the Channel Coast. Mr Williams left a poppy cross on the grave of Chorley Pal Andrew Magrath who is buried in Terlincthun British Cemetery near Boulogne.
Whilst at Bayeux, he also laid a wreath at the Bayeux Memorial to all them men from the Chorley who died in the Normandy campaign.
A full report on the trip can be found on the Brindle Historical Society website www.brindlehistoricalsociety.org.uk and the Chorley Remembers website www.chorleyremembers.org.uk