A GROUP of military veterans from Clackmannanshire were honoured to have attended 80th D-Day anniversary commemorations in Portsmouth this month.

The four former members of the armed forces, three representing the Wee County and one from Falkirk, are believed to have been the only veterans attending from the region as the UK marked eight decades since the start of the combined naval, air and land assault on Nazi-occupied France.

Possibly the most famous military operation of all time and the largest seaborne invasion in history, the Normandy landings took place on June 6, 1944.

On June 5 this year, the date many troops set off from Portsmouth all those years ago, a commemoration took place at Southsea Common with high profile guests including the king, D-Day veterans, former service members and more.

Among those in the crowd were Clacks Royal Navy veterans Andy Roxburgh and Bernard Severin as well as army veterans Murdoch McGregor and Billy McWilliams from Falkirk who all had a memorable day following a long drive down south.

(Image: Wee County Veterans)

It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the ex-services personnel, three of whom are members of support group Wee County Veterans, with a chance to hear first-hand from the still surviving few who were on the beaches eight decades ago.

Andy, chair of the group, told the Advertiser: “It was quite an honour to, first, be selected to attend and secondly to represent the Wee County, Wee County Veterans and all the ex-service personnel who live in this area.”

The group’s attendance was organised by armed forces charity SSAFA and it turned out to be a beautiful day with Dame Helen Mirren leading the commemorative event.

READ MORE: D-Day tribute unveiled in Alloa

“It was really quite emotional”, Andy, who served for 23 years, continued. "These young lads, 18-20-year-olds, went over there and a lot of them didn’t come back, they were all volunteers.

“They went over there and faced the enemy on the enemy’s doorstep."

It was also a most special day for Army veteran Murdoch McGregor, who previously featured in the Advertiser with his many years of work on the Alloa Half Marathon and with his sailing adventures.

Murdoch, who served for three years in Germany at the height of the Cold War, explained it was an “unforgettable” experience and an honour to attend.

He spoke of a strong sense of brotherhood and sisterhood among those who served in the armed forces in the arena and a feeling of closeness at Southsea Common.

(Image: Wee County Veterans)

Murdoch, whose father-in-law Alex Sinclair was at the D-Day landings, said: “I had long been aware of the magnitude of the D-Day operations that has since been recognised as the greatest seaborne operation anywhere in the world.

“When I did enter the commemoration arena it was a sense of realisation that we were actually sitting where these troops actually assembled at Southsea Common to board the landing craft that would take them to the Normandy beaches and the hell that awaited them.

“I felt in their boots at that time.”

Murdoch, like many, felt overwhelmed at times with the event featuring speeches, music and performances, including a D-Day veteran and his great-grandchildren on stage.

It is believed there will not be another commemoration quite like the 80th due to the age of the few who bravely faced hell that day.

For Bernard Severin, vice-chair of Wee County Veterans, it was a day of mixed emotions as his father was a German prisoner of war.

He said: “I was seeing it from both sides.

“Even though my dad was German, I’ve still done 20 years in the forces here.

“It was an honour to be there but I was doing it from both sides if you know what I mean.”

Bernard highlighted that not everyone signed up to the party ideology on the German side and indeed, many were also just young lads ending up in frontline service.

Closer to home, a service was also held at Menstrie War Memorial on June 6.

(Image: Wee County Veterans)

Led by Rev Mike Goodison, the wreath-laying ceremony also welcomed the village’s very own May Cameron, 99, who served as a plotter in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) during WWII.