RAYLEIGH and Wickford MP Mark Francois marked D-Day last week by travelling to Normandy.

He took part in the events to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day Landings, which began the process of liberating Europe from Nazi Germany.

Mr Francois, who is also the armed forces minister, attended several events over the course of his three-day trip, including a midnight vigil at Pegasus Bridge, where the first British gliders landed shortly after midnight on that day in 1944.

He also attended the United States ceremony at Colleville, near Omaha Beach, representing the British Government and hearing speeches from President Obama and President Hollande of France.

The events were particularly poignant for the minister as his father, Reginald Francois, served on HMS Bressay on D-Day, which was part of the task force sweeping the invasion beaches for mine.

Mr Francois said: “I was very pleased to participate in this important commemoration of those men who risked everything in order to free Western Europe from tyranny.

“All of the men who participated in D-Day did us a great service in the name of freedom and it is very important that we commemorate them on occasions such as this.”