News story: D-Day commemorative events

On 6 June 1944, around 4,300 Allied personnel lost their lives serving their country in what would be the largest amphibious invasion ever launched.

Next week, more than 650 veterans are expected to make the journey to the beaches of Normandy to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

Thousands of people, including Her Majesty The Queen and other members of the Royal Family, will join them to pay their respects to the Allied troops who fought for the liberation of Europe from Nazi occupation in the Second World War.


A D-Day memorial service takes place in Bayeux Cathedral (library image) [Picture: Crown copyright]

Across the 2 days, the events will be supported by more than 1,700 personnel from the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force through displays such as a parachute descent and a flotilla of ships crossing the English Channel.

Major General Tim Radford, General Office Commanding Force Troops Command, said:

Every serving regular and reserve member of today’s armed forces recognises the bravery, commitment and sacrifice of all Allied personnel who took part in the decisive actions of D-Day and the Normandy campaign.

These commemorations are first and foremost about the veterans, remembering the sacrifices that were made and celebrating all that was achieved.

Further events will be taking place in Portsmouth where Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal will join 90 veterans for the commemorative events happening in the UK.

Covering the commemorations

The Ministry of Defence will be following the events in France and Portsmouth throughout both days. You can keep track of what is happening using the list below and stay up-to-date by following our social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.

If you are attending any of the commemorative events, you can post your photos and stories to our Facebook wall or send them to @defencehq on Twitter.


British paratroopers jump onto a Normandy landing zone (library image) [Picture: Corporal Emily Felgate, Crown copyright]

Thursday 5 June

Portsmouth, UK:

  • drumhead service on Southsea Common, and an amphibious display on Southsea Beach by members of the Royal Marines launching from HMS Bulwark
  • a display by the RAF’s Red Arrows over the Solent; a flotilla of Royal Navy and Allied nations’ ships will then sail from Portsmouth to the Normandy coast, led by HMS Bulwark
Normandy region, France:

  • events at Pegasus Bridge and the Pegasus Bridge Museum to commemorate the landings by 6th Airborne Division troops on the night of 5/6 June 1944
  • laying of wreaths at the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry Memorial and at a statue of Brigadier James Hill, commander of 3rd Parachute Brigade
  • a midnight vigil will take place to mark the moment gliders landed to capture Pegasus Bridge
  • a commemorative parachute descent at Ranville, with more than 300 soldiers accompanied by 89-year-old D-Day veteran Jock Hutton, and a flypast by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight
  • a memorial service at the Royal Artillery Memorial at La Brèche

Veterans of the D-Day campaign during a memorial service in Bayeux Cathedral (library image) [Picture: Crown copyright]
Friday 6 June

Normandy region, France:

  • a UK-French service of remembrance organised by the Royal British Legion at Bayeux Cathedral
  • a UK-French service of remembrance at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery in Bayeux
  • an international event organised by the French government at Sword Beach, Ouistreham
  • a parade of veterans, a drumhead service and laying of wreaths at Arromanches-les-Bains

Find out more about D-Day 70

Continue reading...