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D-Day And The Heroes Of Pegasus Bridge [video]

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Serving soldiers paid tribute to the heroic efforts of their Second World War brothers in arms last night with a vigil at the first site to be liberated in Nazi-occupied France.

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Shortly after midnight on June 6, 1944, British soldiers landed next to bridges over the river and canal at Benouville, Normandy, France.

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This morning military personnel retraced their steps over Pegasus Bridge, which was a key part of D-Day’s Operation Deadstick, as it hampered movement of enemy troops and enable the Allied forces to press on.

Marking the 75th anniversary of the push, which was led by Major John Howard, 130 soldiers from The Rifles and the Army Air Corps held a ceremony at the Pegasus Bridge memorial to mark the moment the gliders landed.

The main invasion fleet of British, American, Canadian, French and other allied forces was still six hours away from landing.

 A recording of Major Howard’s speech from a ceremony at the site 30 years ago was played before the Band and Bugles of The Rifles led their troops across the bridge.

Rifleman Peter Ramsden, of the Rifles 2nd Battalion, spoke of his pride in following in the footsteps of D-Day heroes.

The 23-year-old from Durham, and currently stationed in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, said: ‘It’s a massive honour to march across Pegasus Bridge.

‘As one of our regiment’s most prestigious battle honours, it means a lot not only to the regiment but to the lads in the regiment as well.’

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