D-Day

Veterans Invited To Commemorative Event Marking D-Day Anniversary

The event will include a live broadcast of the official opening of the newly-completed British Normandy Memorial.

Veterans unable to travel to Normandy due to coronavirus restrictions have been invited to a commemorative event in England marking the 77th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

The gathering at the National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire, on 6 June, will be the first major commemorative event of the year at which veterans from around the UK will be invited.

The ceremony will include a live broadcast of the official opening of the newly-completed British Normandy Memorial in Ver-sur-Mer, northern France.

Veterans and their families will see coverage of the Royal British Legion’s (RBL) service of remembrance at The Bayeux Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery, France, recorded earlier that morning.

There will also be a chance for Normandy veterans to have their Legion d'honneur formally presented to them by the French Ambassador to the UK.

Bob Gamble, the RBL's assistant director of commemorative events, said: "With each passing year, it is increasingly important that we remember and pay tribute to all who served and sacrificed during Operation Overlord, a major turning point of the Second World War.

"We understand how much it means to the veterans and their families to be in Normandy for these commemorations, however, we are also conscious that there is still great uncertainty surrounding international travel.

D-Day on 6 June 1944 was the largest single-day amphibious invasion in military history (Picture: PA).

"Therefore, we have taken the decision to pay tribute to this important generation in the safe and secure environment of the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

"We invite veterans who intended to travel to Normandy to join us on 6 June as we reflect on a day that changed the course of history, and celebrate the peace and freedom won by all who took part."

The official opening of the British Normandy Memorial is the culmination of nearly six years of work by the Normandy Memorial Trust.

Designed by British architect Liam O'Connor, the memorial records the name of the 22,442 personnel under British command who fell on D-Day and during the Battle of Normandy.

The memorial, which cost almost £30m, stands on a hillside overlooking Gold Beach, one of three beaches where British forces landed on the morning of 6 June to begin the liberation of western Europe.

View of a beach in Normandy during the Allied invasion on D-Day 060644 CREDIT PA - downloaded on 050620
D-Day, codenamed Operation Overlord, was the greatest combined land, air and naval operation in history (Picture: PA).

It features the D-Day Sculpture, the D-Day Wall, featuring the names of those who fell and, on 160 stone columns, the names of those who lost their lives between D-Day and the liberation of Paris at the end of August 1944.

The site also includes a French memorial dedicated to the memory of French civilians who died during this time.

The official opening of the memorial will be presided over by the British Ambassador to France, Lord Edward Llewellyn.

D-Day, codenamed Operation Overlord, was the greatest combined land, air and naval operation in history.

It was a massive assault by the allies to invade Nazi-occupied western Europe and saw 156,000 troops from Britain, US, Canada and France land on the beaches of Normandy together with thousands of vehicles and supplies.

Cover image: National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.