UK & World News
Veteran, 89, Recreates D-Day Parachute Jump
An 89-year-old WWII veteran has relived his experience of the D-Day landings by parachuting into the same field in France that he landed in 70 years ago.
Scotsman Jock Hutton joined more than 300 soldiers to mark the 70th anniversary of the first stages of the operation.
He said the experience was like "poetry" after he landed alongside troops from the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States and France.
They landed in Ranville, the first Normandy village to be liberated on D-Day itself.
"I was very relaxed with all my companions in the aircraft," said the veteran.
"They made me feel very relaxed but I wanted to get out that door!"
Mr Hutton was strapped to a current member of the parachute display team, The Red Devils, for his jump.
The 89-year-old is one of the last D-Day veterans from his regiment - the 13th Battalion of the Parachute Regiment.
Mr Hutton said the "humbling" experience was quite different to 70 years ago: "We didn't stay in the air as long as we did today.
"We left the aircraft at about 500 feet - nine of us in each aircraft. (We) smashed into the ground ... we had a task to do, that was foremost in our minds.
"You couldn't just reach the ground and sit on your backside. Our main task was to liberate Ranville, which we did before first light."
Mr Hutton's descent was watched by Prince Charles, who greeted the veteran in the landing area.
His jump was followed by a fly past of two Spitfires and a Lancaster bomber from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
Twelve British troops then jumped out of a Dakota aircraft alongside hundreds more to make up the main descent.
The programme of events to commemorate the anniversary continues throughout Friday.
And tonight, coordinated fireworks lit up the coast from Sword Beach in the east, up the Normandy coast to Utah Beach in the west.
Prime Minister David Cameron is attending a midnight vigil at Pegasus Bridge to mark the moment the first soldiers landed in France in the early hours of June 6, 1944, to capture the strategic landmark.
Glasses are also being raised in a symbolic champagne toast at Cafe Gondree, the first building to be liberated next to the bridge.
On Friday, major events include a memorial service at Bayeux Cathedral and the town's Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery.
The Queen will be accompanied by President Barack Obama, President Francois Hollande and President Vladimir Putin at an international event on Sword Beach, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will join veterans at Arromanches-les-Bains.
President Obama today paid tribute to the "great alliance" between the UK and the US during D-Day and the rest of the war.
He said the countries had been "like two rocks of freedom and democracy".
"On that day, like so many others, American and British troops stood together and fought valiantly alongside our allies.
"They didn't just help to win the war, they helped to turn the tide of human history."