Yesterday, Prince Charles met many veterans while walking around Bayeux War Cemetery. However, one veteran in particular, Ivor Thomas, made the Prince reveal a few concerns of his own.
Mr Thomas’s son, Philip, who was accompanying his father to Normandy, told Prince Charles that his father still insists on driving his 1985 Ford Sierra. To this, the Prince replied: “So does my Father, I’m always worried”, before gesturing to Mr Thomas. Charles continued by saying: “But his eyesight’s alright”.
Ivor Thomas wasn’t the only veteran who the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall met at Bayeux; they met dozens walking around the war cemetery and at a reception held inside a marquee. Douglas Adams, who is 90 from Ryde, a former trooper with the Royal Armoured Corps and East Riding Yeomanry asked the Duchess: “How’s the old man”, before the Duchess kindly ushered Mr Adams over to shake hands with the future King.
After speaking to Prince Charles, John Ainsworth, 93 from Hull, a former Gunner Surveyor in the Royal Artillery who landed on Juno Beach on D+7, vowed to continue returning every year to the battlefields and graveyards despite the impending disbandment of the Normandy Veterans Association later this year. Mr Ainsworth said: “I come back because of the inextricable connection with the lads that are lying here, as long as we are alive we will keep coming back, until we join them”.
There was also a veteran who made the Duchess of Cornwall laugh; Marc van Hasselt, 90, a Second Lieutenant with the Essex Yeomanry who worked as a forward observation bombardment attached to Marine Command when he landed on Gold Beach. When asked by the Duchess which beach he landed on he replied: “It’s the seaside. It all looks the same”. Camilla, chuckling, then asked: “But you did as you were told?” He replied, stating:”Oh yes”, although his wife, Tessa, interjected saying that he doesn’t these days.
— Emily Andrews (@byEmilyAndrews) June 6, 2014
Prince Charles’s concerns come just a few days before the Duke of Edinburgh celebrates his 93rd birthday. However, Prince Philip shows no sign of slowing down. Just two days after his birthday Philip will travel to Germany as Royal Colonel of The Highlanders Fourth Battalion to present campaign medals before returning to Buckingham Palace to chair the Household Division’s Senior Colonel Conference.