June 6 - D-Day veteran Jock Hutton parachutes into Normandy once again at the age of 89 in front of Prince Charles. Sarah Toms reports.
Veterans, military, politicians and royalty gather in France on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day Normandy landings. They came to honour those who fought and died on that momentous World War Two mission, that ultimately led to the liberation of France. Many of the few surviving veterans watched as more than 300 troops parachuted into one of the first villages to be liberated. Among them was 89-year-old Jock Hutton, who repeated the jump he made into France 70 years ago. He jumped in tandem for a re-enactment of the operation. The moment he landed the former member of the Parachute Regiment donned the famous beret. He dusted himself off then stopped for a chat with British Prince Charles. The D-day landings were a key turning point in the war. But he said he wasn't afraid. . (SOUNDBITE) (English) D-DAY VETERAN PARACHUTIST JOCK HUTTON SAYING "Terrified? During my life, sir, I have never been terrified. I'm just a vicious old Scotsman." But not all parachutists agree. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PARACHUTIST, MAJOR GUY THEWLIS, SAYING: "If I'm perfectly honest, I think they must have been scared witless, I know I would have been. The only thing I really needed to worry about today was other parachutists in the sky and a little bit of wind, perhaps, but as I've already said there's hardly any. They had ground fire, they had the darkness, they definitely had the unknown. We've looked at this DZ (drop zone) on maps, we've been here before, we've walked the ground, we understand what it's like, what the ground is like. Anti-aircraft fire as well, they must have had that bursting all around them, and they must have been absolutely scared witless, I know I would have been." Thousands of Allied troops died on June 6, 1944. The number of survivors who made it back that day are rapidly dwindling and for many, this could be their last return to French soil.