War veteran Claude enjoys special day out in London
War veteran, Claude Rolt from Bourne joined around 1,000 fellow veterans for an emotional service of remembrance at the Cenotaph in London to mark the 70th anniversary of VE Day.
Claude, aged 94 years old, received a special invitation from the Queen inviting him to attend the service in London on Friday last week, to remember those who sacrificed their lives.
Claude who was accompanied by his brother-in-law on the day said: “It was a lovely surprise. There was so many people there on the day who took the time to shake my hand and say thank you - it was very emotional.”
Joined by fellow representatives of Second World War veteran groups, both military and civilian, the service was also attended by The Duke of York, senior politicians, the Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nicholas Houghton and current members of the Armed Forces.
People lined the streets to watch the service which included two-minutes silence followed by the Last Post which was played by a Royal Marine bugler and wreaths which were laid by those attending.
The service also included a reading of extracts from Winston Churchill’s speech by Mr Randolph Churchill, great grandson of Winston Churchill,
Claude and his twin brother, George joined the forces aged just 18 years old and both worked as drivers in the war transporting troops and prisoners of war across France, Belgium, Holland and Germany.
Claude explained how it was an extremely frightening job having to drive the large vehicles on his own, often in the dead of night with no headlights in case they were spotted.
Claude and George’s older brother Jack, from Bourne also fought in the war and will be turning 100 in September. Both Jack and George were extremely proud of Claude for attending this year’s special VE Day service.
Those also proud of Claude, include his six great grandchildren, Ellis, Rory and Fraser who live in West Bridgford and Catherine, Katie and Amelie who live in France. The children were delighted to hear that their great grandad had received an invitation from the Queen.
Claude is grateful to have such a large family who have supported him over the years, including his two sons, Trevor and Michael, two daughters-in-law Amelia and Annette and his two grandchildren Catherine and James.
Although Claude and two of his brothers survived the war, along with their younger brother Eric, 89, who just missed the war, their young sister, Dolly and one of their older brothers, Jim have now sadly died.