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The Allied landing on Normandy beaches on June 6, 1944 – D-Day – was the focus of the SS Otaki commemorations at Ōtaki College on March 8.

The annual event is a special occasion for members of the Arctic Convoy Club. Although they are now all in their late 90s and early 100s, three of them and their wives were able to attend. Club president Derek Whitwam remembers well that he was on HMS Berwick in June 1944. The Royal Navy cruiser was lurking near Iceland in an operation that was to convince Nazi Germany that an Allied attack on German -held Norway was imminent.

Members of the Arctic Convoy Club had a front row seat at the D-Day commemoration at Ōtaki College. They included, centre left, club president Derek Whitwam, 98, and wife Rita, and far left, fellow convoy veteran Syd Wells, also 98.

Photo Ōtaki Today

Dignitaries from the armed services, diplomats and politicians laid wreaths at the college ceremony. They included vice regal consort Dr Richard Davies, Kāpiti Coast mayor Janet Holborow, Barbara Rudd of Ngā Hapū o Ōtaki, Derek Whitwam, Merchant Navy Association Capt Roger Blake, chief of navy rear admiral David Proctor, sub-lieutenant Emma Wright for the Air Force, deputy British high commissioner John Pearson, Klaus Sattel for the German Embassy, and Wendy Mohan on behalf of the Ōtaki RSA. Maddie Simpson and Witana Cameron represented the students of Ōtaki College.




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D-Day remembered at college commemoration



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