01 MAY 2019: Seventy five years ago the forces of 13 Allied countries gathered in Britain before launching the historic operation to liberate Europe. Winston Churchill rightly said that D-Day was “undoubtedly the most complicated and difficult” operation that had ever taken place. On June 06 the date of the D-Day Landings and the Battle of Normandy, several important occasions will commemorate the anniversary of the Second World War and Britain will show its veterans that the country’s debt to them is never forgotten.

The centrepiece of the D-Day 75 programme will be a specially-chartered ship which will carry D-Day veterans to key commemorations in Portsmouth and Normandy. The ship will offer the veterans and their carers accommodation and travel for the duration of their visit at no cost to them.

Other key commemoration events include:

•   Britain’s Imperial War Museums (IWM), with five museums across the UK, will retell the story between June 1 and 9 through three of its historic sites: HMS Belfast, IWM Duxford and Churchill War Rooms, all of which played a significant role in D-Day.

•   Portsmouth, from where much of the D-Day landing force sailed in 1944, will be the focal point of the UK commemorations and will host the UK national event on 5 June 2019. Portsmouth City Council is planning a series of events over five days to reflect the area’s unique role in one of the largest and well-known military operations in history.

• .  Key commemoration events 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 commemorations will conclude with an evening of music and entertainment for veterans beside the beaches at Arromanches.

•   Elsewhere, Bristol in south-west England will be marking the anniversary; the Normandy landings were planned by Gen Omar Bradley at Clifton College in Bristol, the US Army’s command base in the city. General Bradley and others stayed in a building in The Homes – now part of the University of Bristol’s Botanic Gardens – while he was in the city.

•   In south England Southsea’s D-Day Museum is planning a major redevelopment ahead of the anniversary.


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