A POIGNANT service to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings has taken place in Skipton.

Scores of onlookers joined ex servicemen and women who took part at the war memorial in the town’s High Street.

The service was led by Rev Roger Lowens and organised by vice chairman of the Skipton branch of the Royal British Legion, George Martin.

Attendees included D-Day veteran Norman Robinson, 94, from Skipton, who was a telegrapher with the Royal Navy upon HMS Belfast.

He was joined by fellow D-Day survivor Gilbert Masters, also 94 and from Skipton, who was with the 13/18 Hussars as part of the first wave of attack and part of a tank crew.

With them were Burma Star recipients Dennis Maunders, 95, from Eastburn, who serviced in the 1st Battalion Yorkshire Regiment in Burma, and Len Parry, 98, from Skipton, who was with the Royal Air Force in Singapore flying on anti-submarine and mine-laying missions against Japanese forces.

Each man said the service had been moving and brought back memories of the people who did not get home.

Mr Robinson said: “It was a lovely service and it brought back a lot of memories. I was on a ship six miles from shore so compared to Gilbert, who was in a tank on the beach I was safe.

Mr Maunders added: “It reminded us of the lads in Burma who were lost. It is an honour to be here.”

Mr Masters said it was a fitting tribute and an honour to remember his comrades while Mr Parry, who had been captured but escaped, said he was moved by the ‘excellent’ service.

Another visitor was Skipton-born Frank Yarker, now living in Clitheroe, who came to remember his father, also named Frank, who was killed on the first day of the Normandy offence.

Speaking after the service, Mr Martin said: “It was the largest seaborne invasion in history. The operation began the liberation of German-occupied France - and later Europe - from Nazi control and laid the foundations of the allied victory on the Western Front.

“The men landed under heavy fire from gun emplacements overlooking the beaches and the shore was mined and covered with obstacles making the work of the beach clearing teams difficult and dangerous.

“Casualties were heaviest at Omaha, with its high cliffs. At Gold, Juno and Sword, several fortified towns were cleared in house-house fighting, and two major gun emplacements at Gold were disabled using specialised tanks.

“Seventy five years on we remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in order that we can live in peace. Today we also honour four local veterans.

“I would like to thank both the chairman of Craven District Council, Cllr Paul Whittaker, and Skipton mayor Cllr Peter Madeley for their attendance and continued support in the commemoration of notable military dales.

“Our gratitude also goes to the members of the Royal Naval Association, Royal Air Force Association, Royal British Legion, British Army Associations, local schools and the various religious denominations who continue to support ex servicemen and women.”