June 4, 2019 – Two BAE Systems’ apprentices presented D-Day veteran Eric Strange with a miniature handmade cannon and framed photo as a “thank you for your service.”
The apprentices met with Eric on the eve of his sailing into Portsmouth to attend the UK’s national commemorative event marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
Krzysztov Bes and Charlie Cross, BAE Systems craft apprentices based at Portsmouth Naval Base, took a week to make the beautiful miniature cannon.
On meeting Eric, Charlie said: “It was a pleasure to be involved in a project like this. Eric is an inspiration for all our generation. We owe him, and all those that served in the wars so much”.
Eric is appearing in a series of promotional material, as part of the company’s headline sponsorship of Portsmouth’s D-Day 75 programme of events.
On receiving his gifts, Eric told Charlie and Krzysztof: “I feel a little emotional actually. The handcrafted decking reminds me of the deck I used to run on when I was a rating.”
Portsmouth is where Eric set sail from on D-Day and he commented: “It’s my home port, it’s where I started as a rating. Tomorrow is going to be quite a day. It will be an honor to take part in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen and many dignitaries. It’s something for them to come for us. We will be thankful.”
Eric is on board the MV Boudicca cruise ship chartered by the Royal British Legion to ferry the veterans to Portsmouth and then onwards to Normandy as the center part of the 75th anniversary events.
Portsmouth is set to play a central role in UK’s momentous D-Day anniversary this week as it plays host city to the UK’s National Commemorative Event on Southsea Common.
BAE Systems’ sponsorship will help the city stage a series of further events through the week, including two concerts and a 1940s revival festival.