On 6 June, it will be 70 years since D-Day, one of the most significant events of the Second World War. Portsmouth was one of the key strategic locations across the south coast where thousands of allied troops left for the beaches of Normandy.
This year the city aims to be the UK focus again as it commemorates the actions of troops with a line-up of impressive events taking place from May through to June. With few surviving veterans, this year is an opportunity to capture the stories and images of those who took part.
Councillor Lee Hunt, Portsmouth City Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said:
Portsmouth and surrounding areas were transformed leading up to D-Day; the seafront was declared a restricted zone and thousands of international and British troops came into the city.
We want to honour the actions of all men and women involved and it’s important surviving veterans and those who played vital roles in the operation take centre stage.
This is why it’s so important Normandy veterans and their families contact us so we can make sure they’re invited as guests of honour. With a range of events aimed at commemoration, and also harnessing the spirit of community during the conflict, we hope many residents and visitors will join us.
Portsmouth-based Type 23 frigate HMS Richmond will be among a flotilla of ships sailing to Normandy for the commemorations.
Able Seaman Sarah George will be among 170 sailors on board. She said:
It’s a very proud moment to be able to meet Normandy veterans and mark the anniversary. It’s very important people actually listen to these stories and remember that a lot of people did lose their lives.
Normandy veterans are urged to contact Portsmouth City Council’s events team to make sure they’re invited to all the events by calling 023 9283 4109 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
With funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the D-Day Museum’s website will become the definitive source of information for all 70th anniversary-related events across the south of England.
Event organisers are encouraged to add their event to the D-Day Museum website anniversary events calendar.