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Drive to Remember A USA Explosives Truck takes part in the Convoy. Photo © Lee Sainsbury - Oxygen Photography

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Convoy Remembers American WW2 Soldiers in UK

The ‘Drive to Remember’ took place in late June as part of D-Day75 Commemorations

Published on July 17, 2019

Last month, June 22, a convoy took to the road from Southwick, Hampshire en route to Newbury, Berkshire, as part of a 75th anniversary event to remember the route taken by Dwight D Eisenhower on the eve of D-Day.

During the day, American autos traveled via roads including the A32, the B3349 and the A339 to Greenham Common Airfield, near Newbury, where Eisenhower had addressed US soldiers of the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment 75 years before. Stops along the way included Lasham Airfield and Basingstoke, and featured a specially planned parachute drop by the Poppy Parachute Drop Team, symbolically returning troops killed in action back to base.

The convoy was started by Marion Loveland, a former D-Day 'Wren' (Women's Royal Naval Service), who was part of the team that relayed Eisenhower's message to the Fleet. Marion said "I was honoured to be asked to start the convoy. I met such nice people who took an interest in my war work. Events like this help to carry forward the history of and remembrance for the wartime generation". Echoing the incredible response to the convoy, Michael Burne of the Military Vehicle Trust said that "We were overwhelmed by the number of people who lined the route to cheer us on. In most of the towns and villages we received a tremendous welcome and particularly emotional was the church bells ringing in two of the villages we drove through".

During the journey, the convoy stopped at the Milestone Museum near Basingstoke. Speaking for the museum, Nick Suffolk remarked "It was a pleasure to welcome the convoy participants when they stopped off at Milestones Living History Museum in Basingstoke. It took a lot of planning to make this event happen and it was worthwhile if the reception they received was anything to go by."

Sue Blackstock of Alton, Hampshire, was one of the many people who came out to cheer on the convoy. Describing the day, she said "We got our pitch at the side of the road about an hour before the convoy arrived. I am glad we did because it was packed with people by the time we saw the vehicles drive past. What a wonderful experience in the cause of Remembrance".

Photographer Lee Sainsbury of Oxygen Photography took some great shots from the day, and we've included a selection below (for more, check out http://www.oxygenphotography.co.uk/portfolio/75th-anniversary-of-d-day-commemorative-convoy/ . Congratulations to everyone on a successful day of Remembrance and education.

Drive to Remember Paul Gibbs from the Poppy Parachute Team (left) and Colin Wright as Eisenhower (right) - Photo © Lee Sainsbury - Oxygen Photography
Drive to Remember The Poppy Parachute Team fly in with the Stars and Stripes Photo © Lee Sainsbury - Oxygen Photography
Drive to Remember USA Car - Photo © Lee Sainsbury - Oxygen Photography
Drive to Remember General Dwight D Eisenhower and Air Chief Marshall Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory were 'present' on the day, here photographed outside Southwick House. Photo © Lee Sainsbury - Oxygen Photography

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