Swinney pays tribute to veterans as services mark 80th anniversary of D-Day

First Minister will represent Scotland at a service in Portsmouth before travelling to France for National Commemoration ceremony on Thursday.

Swinney pays tribute to veterans as services mark 80th anniversary of D-Day Getty Images

First Minister John Swinney is to represent Scotland at ceremonies marking the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

Swinney paid tribute to the “brave men and women” involved in the military operation during the Second World War, ahead of joining a service in Portsmouth on Wednesday.

It was from there that the Allies left for the beaches of Normandy in France eight decades ago at the start of what was the largest seaborne invasion in history.

Along with the associated airborne operations, it marked the beginning of the liberation of France and western Europe.

On Thursday, Swinney will attend the first National Commemoration ceremony to be held at the British War Memorial in Ver-sur-Mer in France, to pay tribute to all who served in the Normandy campaign.

Meanwhile, Scottish veterans minister Graeme Dey will be at the National D-Day 80 Commemoration Concert taking place in Edinburgh on Thursday.

The event, at the Usher hall, has been funded with £22,000 of Scottish Government cash.

Speaking ahead of the special services, the First Minister paid tribute to all those who had served during the conflict.

Swinney said: “Scotland owes a great debt of gratitude to all those who served during the Second World War, especially to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

“Were it not for the actions of these brave men and women 80 years ago, we would not enjoy the freedoms which we now take for granted.

“It is important that current and future generations continue to learn of the events that took place in Normandy so that we ensure such a conflict is never repeated.

“The Scottish Government is wholehearted in our commitment to supporting our Armed Forces, veterans and their families in Scotland.

“We will never forget those who have, and continue to, lay down their lives in the service of their country.”

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