This weekend marked the seventieth anniversary of the evacuation of British troops from the beaches in Dunkirk, France as they retreated under the onslaught of the German army during World War II. The weekend saw veterans from that time visit the area and culminated in a memorial service and wreath laying ceremony at the war memorial in Dunkirk which was attended by French and British veterans, relatives of soldiers and other dignitaries.

 D-Day veteran Peter Shaw

During the weekend I also photographed various stages of the ‘Big Battlefield Bike Ride’, organised by and in support of the charity for injured soldiers from more recent conflicts, Help for Heroes. The event involved a three hundred mile bike ride through the countryside of France and Belgium, with the three hundred riders stopping off at battlefields and war memorials from the first and second world wars with each visit been marked with a simple wreath laying ceremony or short service to remember those that had been killed during these wars.

Riders for the charity Help for Heroes arrive on the promenade in Dunkirk at the end of their arduous 300 mile bike ride.

A Bugler stands in front of a wall at the Menin Gate memorial at Ypres in Belgium which lists the 55,000 names of British and Commonwealth soldiers killed and missing during the battle of the Ypres Salient during World War One

A veteran from D-Day chats with an injured soldier from the more recent conflict in Afghanistan

Early morning sun lights the many rows of headstones of British, French and German 
soldiers killed during heavy fighting in this area of Belgium

D-Day veteran Richard ‘Dicky’ Atkinson

A young boy is held aloft on the shoulders of his father 
at the Menin Gate memorial in Ypres, Belgium

Royal Navy D-Day veteran, George Drewett chats with his grandson, Richard Vanstone, as they walk along the promenade in Dunkirk, France

Having arrived by Navy landing craft on the beach at Dover after completing the 300 mile ride, Mr Jonny Buxton enjoys a pint

For further information on Help for Heroes visit…http://www.helpforheroes.org.uk/

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