Salute to Normandy Veterans
More than 4,000 Armed Forces personnel will lead the nation in marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day with major commemorative events in Portsmouth and Normandy in June.
A major national commemorative event on Southsea Common in Portsmouth will be attended by D-Day veterans, VIP guests and service personnel.
Members of the public are invited to attend the commemorations in Portsmouth, where a flypast of 26 Royal Air Force aircraft will salute the veterans in gratitude for their service.
Up to 300 veterans, who are now all over 90 years old, will leave Portsmouth on a specially-commissioned ferry to attend events in Normandy on the following day. Up to 11 Royal Navy ships will accompany the veterans as they depart Portsmouth to provide a spectacular salute on the eve of the 75th anniversary.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
“75 years ago troops from 14 Allied countries united together, many on the south coast of Britain, before launching the historic operation to liberate occupied Europe. Britain must always keep the legacy of that special generation alive. I urge people to join our Armed Forces in showing that all of us, young and old, will never forget the price they paid for the freedom and peace we now enjoy.”
Chief of the Defence Staff Sir Nick Carter said:
“The Armed Forces are honoured to dedicate so many personnel and assets to this significant commemoration. Our forebears, who planned and executed Operation Overlord, and those who enabled it to happen by fighting in Italy, Africa and beyond, have the enduring respect of our Armed Forces. We will ensure the example of that special generation lives on.”
At 0726 on 6th June, a lone piper of the British Army will play at Arromanches in Normandy to mark the exact moment the first British soldier landed on Gold Beach.
Later that morning, the Normandy Memorial Trust’s statue will be inaugurated by senior UK and French figures in a ceremony at Ver-sur-Mer.
Service personnel will then join veterans at Bayeux Cathedral and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Bayeux War Cemetery for The Royal British Legion’s traditional annual commemorative ceremonies.
Portsmouth D-Day 75th Commemorative Events
Portsmouth will host a number of events for the 75th Anniversary of D-Day which will provide members of the public, Armed Forces, veterans and families to enjoys a memorable day out from the 5th to 9th June.
D-Day 75 Commemorative Events – 5 June
Wednesday 5 June 2019
The day will begin with a major national commemorative event on Southsea Common, including a flypast of 26 RAF aircraft – including Spitfire.
Later that afternoon there will be a flying display above Southsea Common by the Red Arrows.
The evening commemorations will see MV Boudicca depart Portsmouth with 300 D-Day veterans on board for their trip to Normandy. The ship, specially chartered by the Royal British Legion, will be escorted by a Royal Navy vessel to represent the famous crossings that took place 75 years ago.
D-Day 75 Commemorative Events – 6 June
Thursday 6 June 2019
The commemorative events for D-Day 75 continue on 6 June with a Remembrance Service held at the D-Day Stone in Southsea opposite South Parade Pier. The morning event invites the people of Portsmouth to pay their respects to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice on 6 June 1944.
Throughout the day there will also be live coverage on the big screen at Southsea Common of events in Normandy. These will include an inauguration at the site of the Normandy Memorial Trust’s British Normandy Memorial and The Royal British Legion’s services at Bayeux Cathedral and Bayeux Cemetery.
The evening will conclude with a showing of the music and entertainment taking place beside the beaches in Arromanches.
D-Day 75 Commemorative Events – 7 June
Friday 7 June 2019
Portsmouth Music Hub will kick off commemorative events on 7 June, with a performance on Southsea Common of a special composition for D-Day 75.
In the early evening, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra will perform its own D-Day 75 composition on Southsea Common. The piece, written by James Olsen for a specially formed young person’s choir, is inspired by the reminiscences of D-Day veterans and the D-Day Story.
The evening will conclude with a children’s film screening on the big screen at Southsea Common. The film that gets aired will be voted on by the public.
D-Day 75 Commemorative Events – 8 June
Saturday 8 June 2019
The Portsmouth Revival will take centre stage for D-Day 75 commemorations on 8 June. The event – taking place on Southsea Common – will feature entertainment and activities for all the family, including music and dancing from the 1940s; arena displays; military and vintage vehicles; exhibitions and displays; a 1940s vintage market, and film screenings.
The day’s events conclude with a fireworks display on Southsea seafront.
D-Day 75 Commemorative Events – 9 June
Sunday 9 June 2019
The Portsmouth Revival continues through to Sunday 9 June. The weekend-long event will see Southsea Common hosting a plethora of activities for the whole family, including 1940s-style music and dancing, arena displays and exhibitions. There will also be military and vintage vehicles on display, as well as film screenings and vintage market.