Armed Forces Day cavalcade takes Alton man Les back to 1944

Saturday 2nd July 2022 6:00 am
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A CONVOY of military vehicles spanning the decades passed through the Meon Valley and on to The Butts at Alton on Armed Forces Day – bringing back some very special memories for 84-year-old Holybourne man Les Human.

For Mr Human, the first significant military convoy he remembers passing through the area was in late May, 1944, in the days before the Allied invasion of Nazi-occupied France.

Then aged just five years old, Mr Human recalls a large number of British and Canadian troops and military hardware setting up camp on a country lane in nearby Neatham, well camouflaged in case they were spotted from the air.

Over the coming days he witnessed huge troop movements locally, as the invading forces headed towards the south coast ready for D-Day.

Mr Human was joined by a large crowd at The Butts last Saturday to see the latest military convoy pass through the town to mark Armed Forces Day, the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War.

The 60 vehicle-strong cavalcade departed Southwick Park, near Portsmouth, at 10am, before making its way up the Meon Valley and on to Alton, passing The Butts shortly after 11am.

From there, it continued to Lasham Airfield, before reaching its final destination at Milestones Museum in Basingstoke – following the route taken by General Dwight Eisenhower before D-Day.

Vehicles, including a 1942 Dodge Command Car used in 1967 war film The Dirty Dozen, and their owners came from across the UK to take part.

A contingent of Falklands veterans rode as members of the Royal British Legion Riders branch at the rear of the convoy.

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