A 98-YEAR-OLD D-Day veteran will join fellow ex-service colleagues at a special Remembrance service at his Salisbury care home.
Commander Douglas Parish will be among more than 50 residents and visitors at Colten Care’s Braemar Lodge who will gather to honour the fallen.
He was serving on the Royal Navy cruiser HMS Mauritius as a 19-year-old midshipman on D-Day – June 6, 1944 – and has memories of the vast fleet of vessels approaching Normandy for the famous allied landings, widely seen as signalling the beginning of the end of World War II.
“I recall looking out at over 6,900 ships of all kinds,” said Douglas, who was later awarded the Légion d’honneur medal for his role in helping to liberate France.
“They were so close, you felt you could almost step out and walk across them.”
Other veterans due to attend the service include Braemar Lodge residents Anthony Collyns and David Forbes, both ex-army officers who were in the same regimental unit.
Team members at Braemar Lodge with service histories of their own will be there too.
They include Jackie Cash, home manager, who nursed in the Princess Mary Royal Air Force Nursing Service, and companionship team member Graham Ballard, a former Staff Sergeant in the Royal Horse Artillery, who will play the Last Post on the bugle at the service.
Around 30 residents, family members and care staff will travel to Braemar Lodge from three other Colten Care homes: The Aldbury in Poole; Abbey View in Sherborne; and Castle View in Poundbury.
Also attending will be Jonathan Everett, chairman of the Royal British Legion Salisbury Branch.
Jonathan said: “It’s important for us as representatives of the Royal British Legion to go to care homes and say thank you to the people in them who have served.
“I’m very much looking forward to visiting Braemar Lodge and having the chance to sit down and listen to the memories of the veterans there.
“It is so important to do that as we remember and honour those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.”
In the run-up to Remembrance season, residents across all 21 Colten Care homes have knitted and crocheted thousands of poppies.
As at Braemar Lodge, many of these handmade items feature in outdoor hanging displays designed to prompt visitors and passers-by to pause and reflect.
The Braemar Lodge cascade will be the focal point of the forthcoming service if, weather permitting, it is held outside.
Colten Care’s chief operating officer Elaine Farrer said: “Remembrance is always high on the priority list for our residents and their families.
“It’s an opportunity for them to reflect on their experiences and share their memories.
“Working with children and others in the community to produce displays means that everyone can talk about the meaning behind the poppies.
“Remembrance is an equally important time for those of our colleagues who have served, or have families who have served, in the armed forces.”