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Bradford Second World War veterans urged to apply for grant
12:00pm Monday 25th February 2013 in News
Second World War veterans from Bradford have been urged to apply for funding that will allow them to revisit the countries they served in.
The Big Lottery Fund announces today its Heroes Return 2 programme.
More than £25 million has been awarded since 2004 to about 52,000 Second World War veterans, widows, spouses and carers across the country for journeys in the UK, France, Germany, the Middle East, Far East and beyond.
Derek Vickers, 85, of Leeds, wants veterans across Yorkshire to take up the offer to apply for funding. He went on a Heroes Return visit to Italy last September, to revisit the country he first saw during his time with the Merchant Navy. He joined aged just 16.
He sailed in cargo ships in the North Atlantic and around Italy and France where his convoy came under air and submarine attacks. Mr Vickers was responsible for carrying ammunition to the gunners.
The convoy split after the attack and Mr Vickers went to Sardinia, where there had been heavy bombing. There he remembers the terrible smell of bodies under the rubble, a traumatic memory he says which has lingered with him ever since.
He went on to Naples and witnessed the eruption of Vesuvius, watching the lava flow down towards Naples and listening to the guns at Monte Cassino.