Fred Olsen Cruise Lines’ Boudicca will be setting sail on one of the most poignant and moving journeys in its history today (Sunday 2 June 2019) as part of The Royal British Legion’s historic seven-night ‘D-Day 75 Voyage of Remembrance’ from Dover.
Boudicca will be operating under charter on behalf of The Royal British Legion, to carry up to 300 D-Day veterans – plus their carers and companions – from the iconic White Cliffs of Dover to the coast of Normandy, France. They will be attending a series of commemorative events in both England and France, to mark the 75th anniversary of the Normandy Landings, fought on the five beaches of ‘Gold’, ‘Sword’, ‘Juno’, ‘Omaha’ and ‘Utah’, on 6 June 1944.
To commemorate this very special sailing, and a ‘first’ for Fred. Olsen, Boudicca’s exterior has been decorated with The Royal British Legion’s recognisable red poppy insignia, most notably on the bow, stern and deckhouse.
Peter Deer, Commercial Director at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said: “It is a tremendous honour for us to be part of The Royal British Legion’s commemorations to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings and the Battle of Normandy, in what is set to be a very emotional voyage for these veterans and their loved ones.
“We are very proud that our cruise ship, Boudicca, will be following the same path as the ships involved on this momentous day, which brought peace and reconciliation to mark the Second World War.”
Bob Gamble, The Royal British Legion’s Assistant Director for Commemorative Events, said: “Seventy five years ago, the largest seaborne invasion force in history set sail for France on a mission to liberate Europe. Alongside their American cousins, nearly 160,000 men from Britain and the Commonwealth landed on the beaches of Normandy.
“Today, we stand in awe of their achievement and salute their bravery and sacrifice, on our journey back to Normandy.”
In Dover, veterans will receive a very special send-off, with the ’40s-themed ‘Swingtime Sweethearts’ performing in the Cruise Terminal throughout the day, which will be decked out with flags and bunting, and a display of military vehicles from the era, as well as the Dover Sea Cadets marching and performing a number of evocative wartime songs,
Boudicca will then visit Dunkirk, France on 3 June, Poole on 4 June, Portsmouth on 5 June. On 6 June, following in the footsteps of the brave soldiers involved in the Battle of Normandy, Boudicca will arrive in Le Havre, France on the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, for what is sure to be an emotional and memorable day for all.
On 7th June, after an overnight stay in Le Havre, veterans will have the opportunity to visit the ‘Operation Overlord’ beaches, ‘Sword’ and ‘Gold’, as well as Pegasus Bridge, the British Normandy Memorial and the Arromanches Military Museum.
Boudicca will return to Portsmouth on 8th June. To mark the Queen’s birthday, a day of celebratory activities has been planned – including a screening of the Queen’s birthday celebrations – for all on board to enjoy, and the city will be laying on a colourful firework display in the evening.
The Royal British Legion’s ‘D-Day 75 Voyage of Remembrance’ has been offered free of charge to D-Day veterans and their companions, funded by the UK Government’s LIBOR grant, in conjunction with the Ministry of Defence.