Second World War veterans will be able to apply for lottery funding for a commemorative visit under the Heroes Return 2 programme.
More than £25 million has been awarded by the Big Lottery Fund to more than 52,000 WWII veterans, widows, spouses and carers across the country for journeys in the UK, France, Germany, Middle East, Far East and beyond.
Veterans will now be able to apply for funding to travel a second time.
Mick McGrath, Head of Big Lottery Fund East Midlands region, said: “It is a very real honour and pleasure to announce that Second World War veterans from across the East Midlands who have already been on a Heroes Return commemorative visit can now be supported to make another journey to a place where they fought or served.
“They let us know how important these visits are to them - whether it be a trip to London’s Cenotaph on Remembrance Day, a visit to the beaches of Normandy, or journeys to war cemeteries in the Far East.
“The experiences they revisit remind us that we must never take for granted the peace this generation secured for all of us and the debt we owe for the freedoms we enjoy and value today.”
Norman Shepherd, an RAF veteran from Nottingham, is urging other East Midlands veterans to apply for funding for a first or second trip.
The 88-year-old visited Norway on a Heroes Return trip.
He joined the RAF in 1943 and, after training, joined 196 Squadron 38 Group.
The Flight Sergeant was a flight engineer in Short Stirlings in operations over occupied Europe.
The squadron carried out various transport, glider-towing and supply-dropping flights as well as Special Air Service parachuting missions over occupied territories.
Norman visited Oslo in Norway last year for his Heroes Return 2 visit.
He was invited to take part in a ceremony to commemorate crewmen lost during Operation Doomsday - the supervision of the surrender of German forces in occupied Norway following the Allied victory in Europe on May 8, 1945.
More than 360,000 German troops still occupied Norway and the Allies launched a massive operation to take 30,000 soldiers there.
On May 10, 1945, three Short Stirlings crashed enroute to Gardermoen Airfield.
Norman joined relatives of the lost men at Gardermoen and visited the cemetery and crash site where the men rest.
For more information contact the Heroes Return helpline on 0845 00 00 121 or visit their website: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/heroesreturn.
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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