750,000 poppies flutter over the white cliffs of Dover as country marks Remembrance Sunday

Poppies flutter over the white cliffs of Dover as WWII planes drop 750,000 bio-degradable flowers in fly-past tribute while millions fall silent across Britain for Remembrance Sunday

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As the nation fell silent to remember the fallen, a gentle shower of poppies fell over the famous White Cliffs of Dover.

They were carried in a battle-scarred Second World War Dakota, which released the 750,000 poppies as it soared above the English coastline.

The ‘War Horse‘, a veteran of D-Day, was flanked by two Spitfires during the display.

Down below, hundreds of people packed the Battle of Britain memorial, at the edge of the same White Cliffs that formed a welcoming sight for hundreds of thousands of soldiers returning from Dunkirk in 1940.

While the , politicians and dignitaries gathered at the Cenotaph in Westminster for the central remembrance service, thousands of local services took place in towns and villages across the country.

The Royal British Legion urged the nation to pause their daily activities to join in the act of remembrance.

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As many as 750,000 poppies are to be dropped over the white cliffs of Dover this weekend by a flypast of vintage wartime aircraft as the thousands of people across the country pay tribute to its veterans on Remembrance Sunday

A DC3 Dakota ‘War Horse‘ WWII plane was flanked by two iconic Spitfire fighters (one pictured) in the skies above the countryside to mark the 74th anniversary of the end of the war

Three quarters of a million bio-degradable poppies were dropped at 11am above the Battle of Britain War Memorial next to the cliffs. Pictured: The two Spitfires 

After several passes over the packed crowds below, the three-aircraft formation turned and headed along the coast before heading back to North Weald Airfield in Essex where the Dakota (pictured) is based

One of the Second World War Supermarine Spitfire fighters perform a flyover over The Battle of Britain Memorial in Dover during Remembrance Sunday celebrations

The Royal British Legion urged the nation to pause their daily activities to join in the act of remembrance. Pictured: A Spitfire over Dover today

Five veterans – including RAF servicemen who served in the Second World War – were aboard the Dakota (pictured, the Spitfire) to oversee the poppy drop

The aircraft (pictured, one of the Spitfires) flew past at an altitude of just 500ft, with the bio-degradable poppies released as it passed over the memorial

While the Royal family , politicians and dignitaries gathered at the Cenotaph in Westminster for the central remembrance service, thousands of local services took place in towns and villages across the country (pictured, the Dakota flypast in Dover)

Five veterans – including RAF servicemen who served in the Second World War – were aboard to oversee the poppy drop.

The aircraft flew past at an altitude of just 500ft, with the bio-degradable poppies released as it passed over the memorial.

After several passes over the packed crowds below, the three-aircraft formation turned and headed along the coast before heading back to North Weald Airfield in Essex where the Dakota is based.

Second World War veteran Warrant Officer Roy Briggs was one of those who went up in the Dakota on Sunday.

He served as a wireless operator on Lancaster aircraft with 576 squadron, conducting raids at Plauen and Bremen.

He said the touching poppy drop tribute was as much as anyone could do.

The 94-year-old great-grandfather said he spent the flight thinking of a Lancaster crew he knew, who all lost their lives during a wartime mission.

He said: ‘I am 94 and they are still 20 and 21. They will never be anything else to me.‘

Mr Briggs said the flight on Sunday was something of a surprise, revealed just a few days before.

‘I couldn‘t really believe at 94 I was getting involved in something like this,‘ he said.

 After several passes over the packed crowds below, the three-aircraft formation turned and headed along the coast before heading back to North Weald Airfield in Essex where the Dakota is based

Second World War veteran Warrant Officer Roy Briggs (left) and George Prichard were among those on board the World War II Dakota for the ceremonial drop off the Dover coast

Although a little less mobile than 75 years ago, Mr Briggs appeared sprightly as he climbed aboard the twin-propeller aircraft

Veterans Roy Briggs and George Prichard are pictured standing in front of the C47 A Dakota plane used in the D-Day landings

Mr Briggs and Mr Prichard are pictured outside the plane ahead of the poppy drop on Sunday, with them talking to a soldier

The vintage Dakota (in front of a Spitfire) – known to its crew at the time as ‘Drag ‘Em Oot‘ – is itself a veteran of the Second World War and took part in the troop drops on D-Day

One of the Spitfires can be seen out the window of the Dakota, while veteran Mr Briggs looks on during the Remembrance Sunday celebrations over Dover

Flight Lieutenant George Prichard (pictured with Mr Briggs), 96, said the Dakota flight was ‘wonderful‘. He said: ‘It was a great, great day and I was thrilled to be part of the event

Picture shows the interior of the war-weary Dakota as Mr Briggs walks along it to his seat ahead of the stunning display on Sunday 

During the Second World War, Mr Prichard was posted from Tech Signals Radar (Air) Branch to 151 Night Fighter Squadron on Mosquitos. Pictured: The flypast today

Flight Lieutenant George Prichard, 96, said the Dakota flight was ‘wonderful‘.

He said: ‘It was a great, great day and I was thrilled to be part of the event.

‘Something I had never expected I would be doing. Something I shall remember for a very, very long time.‘

During the Second World War, Mr Prichard was posted from Tech Signals Radar (Air) Branch to 151 Night Fighter Squadron on Mosquitos.

There he supported action on D-Day and across Europe throughout the Normandy campaign by maintaining crucial radar equipment used on the aircraft.

The vintage Dakota aircraft – known to its crew at the time as ‘Drag ‘Em Oot‘ – is itself a veteran of the Second World War and took part in the troop drops on D-Day.

It still has 40 bullet holes in its fuselage dating back to those battles, including a spot near the cockpit where a shell passed clean through both sides of the plane.

The Dakota (pictured) still has 40 bullet holes in its fuselage dating back to those battles, including a spot near the cockpit where a shell passed clean through both sides of the plane

The Spitfires (pictured) – both Mk IX models – both saw action over Normandy during the war. They flew from RAF Duxford on Sunday morning to meet the Dakota before the trip to Dover

Also aboard the Dakota was Royal Engineer Stephen Craddock, who joined the army aged 17 and was posted to Germany, Denmark, Kenya and France. Pictured: One of the Spitfires

Propeller marks the spot: The event was the brainchild of Kent-based Aero Legends, with proceeds going to the annual Poppy Appeal

Aero Legends managing director Ben Perkins said: ‘Commemorations like this are incredibly important to remember those who fought and continue to fight for our freedom‘

The Spitfires – both Mk IX models – both saw action over Normangy during the war.

They flew from RAF Duxford on Sunday morning to meet the Dakota before the trip to Dover.

Also aboard the Dakota was Royal Engineer Stephen Craddock, who joined the army aged 17 and was posted to Germany, Denmark, Kenya and France.

He served multiple tours of Northern Ireland during the Troubles, patrolling some of the most dangerous areas of the country.

He left the army in 1990, but said everything came crashing down when his brother died in tragic circumstances.

‘The box inside my head which I had kept firmly locked for so many years opened and all those memories from my time in Northern Ireland came flooding back,‘ he said.

‘I was having nightmares, night sweats and reliving in full HD the sounds, sights and smells from some of the worst atrocities committed by the terrorists during the troubles. I was diagnosed with PTSD and was in a terrible mental state.‘

Veteran George Prichard boards the Dakota ahead of the poppy drop

He began training for the Help for Heroes fundraising bike ride.

He said: ‘I took part in that ride and it nearly killed me. However, for the first time in many years I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

‘I continued training and fundraising and, lo and behold, not only did I get fitter and lose weight, my mental state started to improve.‘

Now over a decade later he has raised almost £500,000 for Help for Heroes.

Warrant Officer Class One Paul Clark – now Corps Sergeant Major in the Royal Engineers – has served in Northern Ireland, Macedonia, Afghanistan, Iraq and South Sudan.

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He could be seen gazing intently out of the windows of the Dakota, silently taking in the sights of the Spitfires flying alongside and the stunning vistas below.

Cps Sgt Major Clark, who has served for 27 years since he joined as a teenager in 1993, said: ‘It is a chance of a lifetime. It‘s a huge honour to be in the same aircraft that delivered guys to Arnhem and Normandy.

‘Sitting in the same seats as guys who fought in World War Two – it‘s brilliant.‘

The event is the brainchild of Kent-based Aero Legends, with proceeds going to the annual Poppy Appeal.

Aero Legends managing director Ben Perkins said: ‘Commemorations like this are incredibly important to remember those who fought and continue to fight for our freedom.‘

He added: ‘We are very happy with how it has gone.

‘The veterans are the reason we are doing this. I hope that the coverage that we have got from this will go some way to raising more support for the charities.‘

Aero Legends has 16 Second World War aircraft and has taken part in numerous commemoration events, including recent large-scale flyovers to mark D-Day and the Battle of Arnhem.

It also conducts passenger flights from its base at North Weald Airfield.

In Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon led commemorations by laying a wreath at the Stone of Remembrance at Edinburgh City Chambers before giving a reading at the service at St Giles‘ Cathedral.

Her deputy, John Swinney attended commemoration in Glasgow‘s George Square, while Veterans Minister Graeme Dey was at a service on board HMS Unicorn in Dundee.       

In Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon led commemoration by laying a wreath at the Stone of Remembrance at Edinburgh City Chambers before giving a reading at the service at St Giles‘ Cathedral

The military band play as they march down Cockburn Street before the start of a Remembrance Day service at the Stone of Remembrance in Edinburgh

Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith was joined by DUP leader Arlene Foster and Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkat at the Cenotaph in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh where the 1987 IRA bombing of a Remembrance Sunday parade killed 12 people

Crowds gather around a marching band at the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph in Enniskillen, held in tribute for members of the armed forces who have died in major conflicts

In Cardiff, volunteers constructed a ‘field of remembrance‘ containing 120,000 miniature crosses bearing tributes to loved ones who had died in conflicts

Freya Kirkpatrick lays a wreath on an aircraft wreckage surrounded by fresh overnight snow as hikers gather in one of the remotest areas of the Derbyshire Peak District

Serving servicemen and veterans gathered at the Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge, near Fort William, Scotland, for the annual Remembrance Sunday ceremony

The Welsh National War Memorial hosted the nation‘s the main service at Cathays Park in Cardiff, with Lord Mayor Dan De‘Ath telling local it is an opportunity to pay tribute to all who had ‘sacrificed their lives‘.

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said: ‘Today, I will join others to lay a wreath to remember and honour all those who gave the greatest sacrifice of all. We will remember them.‘ 

The city has also opened a Field of Remembrance in the grounds of Cardiff Castle, filled with 120,000 miniature crosses bearing tributes to loved ones.

In Neath, South Wales, volunteers decorated Grade II listed Brunel Bridge in Jersey Park with poppies made from old plastic milk bottles.

Birmingham‘s Colmore Row site was packed out by military veterans, Armed Forces representatives and thousands of the city‘s residents.

In Manchester city centre, civic dignitaries, faith and political leaders and members of the armed forces joined veterans and the public at the war memorial at St Peter‘s Square for the 11am service. The firing of a 105mm gun marked the beginning and end of the traditional two-minute silence.

Meanwhile in Northern Ireland, a Christmas tree that appeared in Belfast‘s Coleraine Square on Thursday was hastily removed because it would have got in the way of the local memorial service.

Coleraine RBL Branch president Bill Mills ed Causeway Coast and Glens Council to inform them of the difficulty, saying ‘people were concerned the tree was going up too early‘.    

Hundreds lined the streets of Sunderland for a parade of servicemen and women in full decorative uniform

The minute silence is captured at Westoe Cenotaph War Memorial in South Shields, South Tyneside this morning, attended by the Mayor and Mayoress, Deputy Lord-Lieutenant Mr Robin Brim and members of the Armed Forces

A silence is observed by fans, officials and players for Remembrance Day prior to the FA Cup First Round match between Dover Athletic and Southend United

Manchester United‘s Old Trafford stadium displayed a large poppy tribute as part of the remembrance commemorations before their match against Brighton & Hove Albion

York City and Altrincham players bow their heads for a minute silence in honour of Remembrance Day at Bootham Crescent ahead of the FA Cup First Round tie

Normandy veteran celebrates 95th birthday

A Normandy veteran who received the highest French honour for bravery as a teenager has celebrated his 95th birthday on Remembrance Sunday.

Hubert Miller, from Royston, near Barnsley, was just 19 when he stormed the Normandy beaches to help liberate German-occupied France in June 1944 along with thousands of other Allied soldiers.

Hubert, who was awarded the Chevalier de la Legion d‘Honneur three years ago for his brave actions that day, served in the Royal Artillery regiment during the war.

As the nation remembered its war dead today, the day took on an extra poignance for Hubert as it fell on his 95th birthday.

The sprightly great-grandfather attended his local remembrance service as he does every year before his family surprised him with a birthday party at his home.

Proud Son Ian, 52, said: ‘Every year we go to church for the Remembrance service and we always know it‘s going to be around his birthday.

‘Obviously this year it‘s on his birthday, but it was only this week I twigged his birthday was the same day so we wanted to do something special for him.

‘He‘s one of the oldest surviving Normandy veterans in the area. He was driving until he was 91 and still lives independently in sheltered housing. For his 90th birthday, we flew to Australia to visit my sister.‘    

The nation‘s main ceremony took place in Enniskillen, where Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith was joined by DUP leader Arlene Foster and Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkat at the town‘s Cenotaph.

In 1987, 12 people were killed when the Provisional IRA set off a bomb near the memorial on Remembrance Sunday.

A small Rutland village has added a First World War hero‘s name to their Remembrance memorial in time for the Poppy Day parade.

Corporal Alban Jarman, who gave his life fighting for his country in the hell of the Flanders trenches, has finally been honoured after more than a century.

His death aged 26 on November 23 1917 at first remained unrecognised did not have a war memorial, his death.

In 2014 journalists James and Claire Buchanan and others launched the Rutland Remembers website, helped by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

It has been reported that a man who disrupted a silent Remembrance Sunday tribute in Eccles, Salford with fireworks has been rescued from angry veterans by police.

As the Last Post played and hundreds of people stood in silence to pay their respects at 11am, the man, believed to be a squatter at a disused pub across the road from the cenotaph, ignited the fireworks while sat on a ledge of a first floor window.

A crowd of angry veterans soon gathered outside shouting, ‘Get him out!‘ and trying to break the door of the pub down, while others attempted to climb up to the window.

A lone police officer stood blocking the door shouting into his police radio as he struggled to hold the crowd back from getting inside, before reinforcements arrived.    

Black cab drivers parked on Westminster Bridge have been offering free rides for veterans leaving the Remembrance Day service on Whitehall nearby

In Neath, South Wales, volunteers decorated Grade II listed Brunel Bridge in Jersey Park with poppies

The netted display was made from several different materials including old plastic milk bottles that were painted black, red and green

A stunning cascade of 5,000 hand-made poppies formed the centre piece for commemorations at St Nicholas‘ Church, in Wallasey Village on Merseyside. Each poppy was painstakingly hand-knitted, crocheted or stitched by members of the church‘s congregation

A poodle mixed-breed dog wears a poppy on his collar during a Remembrance Day service in Truro, Cornwall

A man who disrupted a silent Remembrance Sunday tribute in Eccles, Salford with fireworks has been rescued from a crow of  angry veterans by police who marched him away in handcuffs

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