ABOARD THE BOUDICCA IN THE ENGLISH CHANNEL -- The veterans hobble along on canes and lean on walking frames, slower and weaker than they were on D-Day when they stormed the Normandy beaches. It's hard to imagine them as soldiers carrying rifles and 60-pound packs — until they start talking.
Then the scales of age fall way. They are all young men heading to France — a place most had never been.
As part of the commemorations, some 300 veterans are traveling back to France on a six-day cruise sponsored by the Royal British Legion.
They traveled to Dunkirk Monday, remembering the evacuation of British forces after the fall of France in 1940. The veterans will be back in Portsmouth for Britain's main D-Day ceremony on Wednesday before sailing to Normandy for the anniversary of the landings.