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Southampton D-Day event turns back the clock for pensioners
PENSIONERS got on the dance floor as they remembered one of the most important days of the Second World War by turning back the clock.
Penny Bailey, who herself watched D-Day unfold in an operations centre, organised a 1940s-themed party in Eastleigh to mark 70 years since the Normandy landings of June 6, 1944.
It comes as hundreds of veterans from across the region make their way across the Channel to northern France to join in the commemorations of the invasion.
The event in Eastleigh included wartime music and some brave residents, including 93-year-old Penny, even got on the dance floor to do a bit of jive and jitterbug.
She wanted to make it as authentic as possible, so there were homemade cakes made by residents with the limited ingredients that would have been available due to rationing. Penny said there had been real camaraderie to get the party together with friends helping out, emulating the wartime spirit needed at the time.
The party was held at Age Concern, in Romsey Road, and 47 members of Eastleigh Age Concern attended, with some sharing their wartime experiences such as being in the Land Army.
Those who came brought along their photographs and Second World War memorabilia, which was put on the wall in a montage. Attendee Florence Groves, 92, was also involved in the war effort, operating anti-aircraft guns on the south coast defending residents against the German Luftwaffe. Penny served in the Royal Signals and was working in a Signals Office in York helping to co-ordinate troop movements on D-Day.
Although she was not privy to high level discussions, she and her colleagues were aware something important was happening and information about how the troops were doing was relayed to them, which they had to keep top secret.
Although this was exciting, Penny knew her future husband Tom, who she had met in the war, was involved as she could follow his regiment – luckily he was uninjured.
Penny, from Eastleigh, said: “It was important to remember that day because it was the beginning of the end of the war.”
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