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Red Arrows returning to Hampshire for spectacular display
THE RED arrows will stage a spectacular display over Hampshire tomorrow as the county continues to mark the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings.
The 21-minute routine will form part of a major D-Day commemoration at Newtown Park, Boldre, which is near a former airfield used during the build-up to the invasion.
Special guests will include a 92-year-old D-Day veteran who has flown over from the United States.
Herb Simmons, who was stationed at the Lymington Advanced Landing Ground in the weeks leading up to the landings, is believed to be the last surviving member of the 50th Fighter Squadron.
Mr Simmons, from North Carolina, will unveil a new information panel produced by the New Forest Remembers World War II project.
A New Forest National Park Authority spokesman said: “The Lymington airfield was one of five advanced landing grounds - or temporary airfields - that were built in the Forest to support the invasion in June 1944.
“Four of those five were used by the American Army Air Force.
“Despite their temporary nature they were not just little landing strips. Typically each landing ground had two-mile runways and each of the American bases had 1,000 airmen and 75 Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter bombers.
“The New Forest was well positioned to support operations over Normandy since it was more or less opposite the invasion beaches.
“Like most of his fellow airmen, Mr Simmons was in his early 20s when he was stationed at Lymington and he would have slept under canvas.
“He remembers the great kindness and generosity shown by the people of Lymington, who gave the servicemen fresh fruit and vegetables.”
Hosted by Charles Burnett III, tomorrow's event will be open to the public from 3pm - with proceeds going to the Daily Echo-backed Help for Heroes.
It will include a display of Second World War aircraft including two Spitfires and a Hurricane, together will a collection of military vehicles. The Red Arrows display is due to start at 5.30pm.
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