Fred Olsen Cruise Lines played a major part in hosting 250 D-Day veterans – plus their carers and companions – on a poignant pilgrimage around the UK and Normandy, France, on The Royal British Legion’s ‘D-Day 75 Voyage of Remembrance’ aboard Boudicca, from 2 to 9 June 2019.
Fred Olsen’s Boudicca – resplendent in The Royal British Legion’s recognisable red poppy décor – set sail from Dover on 2 June 2019, taking the veterans to Dunkirk, Poole, Portsmouth and Le Havre, where they attended a series of commemorative events to mark the 75th anniversary of the Normandy Landings on 6 June 1944.
Suffolk-based travel specialists, Arena Travel, partnered with The Royal British Legion on the historic Voyage – with whom they have been an official travel partner since 2013 – and contacted local Suffolk cruise line Fred. Olsen, due to the number of veterans to be transported and the high costs and lack of availability of hotels in and around Normandy.
Mike Rodwell, Managing Director of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines – who joined Boudicca for the Voyage, said: “It has been an incredible honour to play our part in The Royal British Legion’s commemorations of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings and the Battle of Normandy. It has been a very moving and emotional experience for all concerned, and our staff have thoroughly enjoyed having these courageous D-Day veterans on board and sharing in their stories and memories.
“We would like to thank Arena Travel and The Royal British Legion for choosing Fred. Olsen as their partner in this most important of projects, to show our national and international respects. We would also like to commend all the ports of call for their warm welcomes to the veterans and to our ship, and it has been overwhelming at times just how much people have got behind the Voyage to show their pride and gratitude to these D-Day veterans, to whom we owe so much.”
Bob Gamble, The Royal British Legion’s Assistant Director for Commemorative Events, said:“D-Day 75 was a momentous occasion and the Royal British Legion is proud to have put the veterans at the heart of everything we did. The events they took part in allowed the whole world to pay tribute to their bravery and sacrifice. We would like to thank all our partners who helped take the veterans back to Normandy on what was a historic and deeply moving voyage. Now they are safely back home, the Legion will still be there for them whenever they need us.”