Hampshire & Isle of Wight

D-Day 75: US veterans visit Southampton graffiti wall

D-Day veterans
Image caption The veterans went to the wall as part of their 75th anniversary visit

US D-Day veterans have visited a wall that was graffitied by fellow servicemen 75 years earlier.

The 62ft (19m) wall on Western Esplanade in Southampton has more than 100 names etched by soldiers waiting to embark for Normandy in 1944.

The wall is currently being scanned as part of a project to create an interactive 3D model.

The veterans were presented with commemorative coins to mark their visit.

The group, which arrived in the city on board the Queen Mary 2, went to the wall as part of its visit to the UK to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

Image caption Harold Radish from Queens, New York, fought with the US Army's 90th Infantry Division

Among the veterans was Harold Radish from Queens, New York, who fought with the US Army's 90th Infantry Division before being captured during the Battle of the Bulge.

"I've a warm sport for the British. It's great to be here - it brings up memories of the British people who were always good to us. We were made really welcome," he said.

Image caption The veterans were presented with commemorative coins by the mayor of Southampton and posed for photos

Mayor of Southampton Peter Baillie said: "The wall is a fantastic reminder of the human aspect to D-Day where people actually inscribed their names on a wall as they went to war."

The Maritime Archaeology Trust recently began a project to digitally record the wall after historians warned the names were in danger of wearing away.

The trust's Helen Wallbridge said: "People from around the world will be able to look it up to see if their relatives made their mark here. We have to remember our past and what was done to secure our freedom and peace today."

More than 3.5 million servicemen passed through Southampton en route to Normandy as it was one of the main embarkation points for the invasion.

Image caption There are more than 100 names on the wall, etched by US servicemen

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