VETERANS of the Second World War gathered at St Thomas's Square on Thursday for a D-Day service.

Among them was former navigator for the RAF, Ken Killeen, 97, of Hunnyhill, Newport ­— born not far from the barracks.

Ken was tasked with bombing German emplacements ­— from 15,000ft in the air ­— far above the clouds, relying on radar to pinpoint targets.

Temperatures in the air could be as low as minus 40 degrees.

"You needed your woolly undies," said Ken.

"Everyone had a job to do, and they did it. If you had one weakness, you were dead."

"We went after everything ­— rail and road connections, gun emplacements, troop concentrations, panzer divisions.

"I started my tour at the end of April, 1944, and I did my ration of 30 operations in three months."

Alongside Ken was Bill Shepard, 97, of Whitepit Lane, Newport.

Bill was part of the RAF regiment escorting the Tactical Air Force.

"We were their protection," Bill said.

"Fighters ­— if they left Southern England ­— they had ten minutes, then they had to go back, because of the fuel."

While Berlin was being divided, Bill was given leave when his wife gave birth to his son.

"He was just a few month old when I saw him," Bill said.

"But I got really ill when I came home, I got pneumonia ­— they gave me a shot of penicillin, which was brand new at the time."

Bill returned to Berlin shortly after, and drove a truck, transporting staff and medicine.

Also at the service was Dianne Jones-Evans, who was there on behalf of her father, Neil Shutler.

Neil, who is 101-years-old, felt too emotional to attend.

Neil was a member of the Royal Navy, enlisting at just 17 years old. He was 26 when he went to war.

Dianne spoke of how her father ­— towing a component for Mulberry Harbour — once had to shoot away the connections because the sea was so rough his vessel was close to capsizing.

Neil was aboard HMS Oranaise, which was being towed by HMS Scomber ­— both were boom defence vessels.

READ MORE: Full details of the Island's D-Day commemorations in this week's County Press.