D-Day ‘75 Commemorations

D-Day 75 Commemorations. 

Shipmates, for information, the following has been taken from the RNA Central Office Facebook page……

More details have been released about events on both sides of the English Channel next month commemorating D-Day.

June will mark 75 years since the Normandy Landings, the largest amphibious assault in history which sparked the Allied drive through France and into Germany to end the Nazi occupation of Europe.

On 6 June 1944, more than 150,000 Allied troops landed on five beaches and various paratroop drop zones, supported by more than 7,000 ships and 11,000 aircraft.

That massive undertaking was masterminded from Portsmouth, with senior Allied commanders working from Southwick House at the back of Portsdown Hill (later part of HMS Dryad) and the city acting as a major embarkation and rendezvous point for Allied forces.

As such, the city will be the focus of events on 5 June, with the British D-Day 75 National Commemorative Event taking place on Southsea Common at 11.30am.

Veterans will join serving members of the Armed Forces and VIPs – the Queen and US President Donald Trump are both expected to attend – for a BBC programme of live music, performance and flypasts, and large screens will be provided on the Common for members of the public who wish to watch the event.

At around 12.45pm a Royal Navy frigate will fire a naval gun salute, followed by a spectacular flypast of up to 25 historic and modern RAF aircraft including the Red Arrows and the iconic Supermarine Spitfire.

At 4pm the Red Arrows will return for a display in the skies over Portsmouth.

At 6.25pm MV Boudicca, a ship specially chartered by the Royal British Legion, will set sail from Portsmouth, taking 300 veterans to Normandy.

Frigate HMS St Albans will escort the Boudicca, along with four smaller Royal Navy vessels; warships berthed in the Naval Base will pay their respects before Boudicca emerges into the Solent to be met by a flotilla of Royal Navy vessels, who will sail past her in salute with sailors lining the decks.

Members of the public are encouraged to line key vantage points on the seafront to wave off the veterans as they retrace the journey they made in 1944.

At around 7.40pm the RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will fly over Portsmouth to mark the departure of Boudicca.

Portsmouth City Council has organised a series of commemorative events and activities from Wednesday 5 June to Sunday 9 June, from concerts to film screenings, the Portsmouth Revival Festival and more – for more details see www.visitportsmouth.co.uk/d-day-75

Commemorative events also get under way on 5 June in France; at 3pm (local time) members of the British Army’s 16 Air Assault Brigade will drop over Sannerville, Normandy, from RAF Hercules aircraft and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s C-47 Dakota.

They will jump along with French Army paratroopers to recreate the airborne landings that also took place on D-Day to secure key locations on the beaches and inland.

Shortly after, the organisation ‘Daks over Normandy’ will drop veterans and reenactors from more than 30 Dakotas.

In the evening the British Army will support events taking place at Pegasus Bridge, in Ranville. The bridge, then known as Benouville Bridge, was a vital canal crossing that had to be held against an expected German counterattack, along with the nearby Ranville Bridge (later known as Horsa Bridge) over the River Orne.

 Around 30 veterans, transported by the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, will be joined by 1,500 guests at a ceremony in the Ranville community. 

The following day, 6 June, the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas in Staffordshire, in partnership with the Royal British Legion, will hold a service of remembrance for D-Day from 10.30 am.

Coverage from the events in France will be relayed on a large screen afterwards, and a similar arrangement has been made for screens on Southsea Common and in Guildhall Square, Portsmouth.

At 7.26am local time on 6 June, the British Army will mark the exact moment the first British soldier landed on Gold beach with a lone piper playing on the remains of the Mulberry B artificial harbour at Arromanches, in Normandy.

In Ver-sur-Mer, the Normandy Memorial Trust’s D-Day statue will be inaugurated in the presence of senior leaders, military musicians and Armed Forces personnel.

Later in the morning in Bayeux – the first town liberated by the Allied forces – the Royal British Legion will hold events commencing with a service at Bayeux Cathedral, followed by a service at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Bayeux War Cemetery.

A tri-service Guard of Honour and military musicians will support the ceremony.

In the afternoon British veterans will begin to parade into the square in Arromanches at 3.15pm local time for a series of informal events hosted by the local authority., accompanied by music from the Central Band of the RAF.

At 4.25pm local time the remaining Royal British Legion veterans will arrive to enjoy music and parachute displays and flypasts by the Red Arrows and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

Events in Arromanches will conclude with a firework display at 11.30pm local time.