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Portsmouth to host UK’s 80th anniversary of D-Day commemorations

Portsmouth will host a major national commemorative event to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day, in June 2024.

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Thousands of members of the public will be invited to join D-Day veterans, Armed Forces personnel, the leader of Portsmouth City Council and VIP guests at the historic event on 5th June 2024.

The personal stories and reflections of surviving D-Day veterans will be at the heart of the event, which will also feature military musicians, a Royal Air Force flypast and moving tributes from special guests. They will commemorate all those who died during the Normandy campaign, and pay tribute to the surviving veterans of D-Day.

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Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said: "We must never forget the sacrifices made on D-Day and the selfless courage of the veterans of Normandy. It’s hard to imagine a more noble act than risking your life to defeat tyranny and oppression. I’m proud that the Armed Forces will lead the nation in tributes to the heroes of Normandy in Portsmouth in June.

"The 80th anniversary of D-Day will remind us that we can never take peace for granted. With war raging in Europe once again, we must recommit to protect and defend Britain’s peace and freedom with our allies around the world. The alliances we forged on 6 June 1944 are still vital to the UK’s security today."

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Johnny Mercer said: "We will forever owe a debt of gratitude to our veterans and the allied forces who fought so courageously at Normandy.

"On the 80th anniversary, we will remember all those who put their life on the line for our freedom during D-Day, and continue to pay tribute to their brave service to this day."

D-Day veterans, serving Armed Forces personnel and the leader of Portsmouth City Council met at the Normandy Memorial Wall in Portsmouth today to mark 100 days to go until the 80th anniversary.

To begin the countdown to D-Day 80, the names of 13 veterans from 12 allied countries are being added to the Normandy Memorial Wall, in recognition of the UK’s enduring international relationships which were forged during the Second World War.

These international alliances and partnerships are still vital to our security today. The names added to the Normandy Memorial Wall include:

  • Stan Ford, Royal Navy, United Kingdom
  • John Roberts, Royal Navy, United Kingdom
  • Richard Pirrie, Royal Australian Navy, Australia
  • Francois August Venesoen, Royal Air Force, Belgium
  • William Howard Cameron, Royal Canadian Navy, Canada
  • Miroslav Moravec, Royal Air Force, Czech Republic
  • Kaj Birksted, Royal Air Force, Denmark
  • Léon Gautier, Free French Movement, France
  • Georgios Panagiotopoulos, Hellenic Navy, Greece
  • Max Wolff, Royal Netherlands Army, The Netherlands
  • Neil W. Harton, Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve, New Zealand
  • Stanisław Maczek, Polish Land Forces, Poland
  • Jimmie W. Monteith Jr, United States Army, United States of America
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The British veterans, Stan Ford and John Roberts, were presented with their plaques by serving personnel at The D-Day Story, Portsmouth City Council’s museum dedicated to the Normandy landings, before being added to the wall.

Members of the public can donate to add a name to the wall, which also supports the work of The D-Day Story.

John Roberts, whose name will be added to the Normandy Memorial Wall, said: "It’s humbling to see the nation come together to remember D-Day and those who fell during the Normandy landings. I will never forget that day, and I’m proud to know that the British people won’t forget either. I hope that the commemorations in June will help a whole new generation understand the sacrifices made on their behalf."

Royal British Legion Director of Remembrance, Philippa Rawlinson said: "The legacy left by the Second World War generation lives on in the freedom and democracy we have today. It is vital we continue to honour their service and sacrifice, so we are encouraging D-Day veterans and their families to register to attend one of the RBL commemorative events in France or the UK."

The Ministry of Defence has launched a D-Day 80 website on GOV.UK, so that members of the public can find out more about the official commemorations and sign up for information on how to register to attend.

On D-Day, 6th June 1944, the United Kingdom, the United States and their allies launched Operation Overlord, a combined naval, air and land assault on Nazi-occupied France.

By the end of the day the allies had established a foothold along the French coast to begin their costly advance to liberate northwest Europe, finally achieving victory over the Nazis a year later.

 

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