A vast security operation to safeguard the US president and other dignitaries, including Theresa May and the Queen, has been put into place on Southsea Common, the venue for the centrepiece of the British ceremonies to mark the 75th anniversary of the Normandy landings.
Miles of fencing, roadblocks and checkpoints have been set up and residents have been told not to aim long-lens cameras at Wednesdays event from nearby flats or fly drones over the common.
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Read more Protests are planned both at the edge of the ring of steel and a mile from the common in Portsmouths Guildhall Square, but the hope from most is that the circus around Trump will not overshadow the principal purpose – to honour the sacrifice of those who took part in D-day.
At the D-day Story museum in Southsea, its manager, James Batney, said the buildup to the big day had been moving and wonderful.
Weve had a real mix of people of all ages and all nationalities arriving, he said. The other day, a group of veterans was sitting out in the sun. Children were coming up to ask for photos. Then a coach full of American tourists stopped. Every one of them that got off the bus went and shook hands with the veterans. This is the last big date when well have so many veterans.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Miles of security fencing has been erected around Southsea Common in Portsmouth. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA Ernie Nelson, a 95-year-old veteran from Cheshire, said it was first class to be back in Portsmouth for the 75th anniversary. Nelson was a wireless telegraphist on HMS Scourge, which escorted convoys to Sword beach and provided fire support to troops when they landed.
A lot of memories come back to me, thats the trouble, he said. I get flashbacks, I remember the people I was with at that time. His daughter, Susan Conneely, said this was not the time or place for demonstrations: Its all about remembrance, its not about politics.
Letitia Abbott, a US citizen, was in Portsmouth to remember her father, Jack, who landed at Omaha beach on D-day. He was deeply affected, she said. He would talk about it but he couldnt do some things, such as go to the movies, for years after. It was just too much for him. Im here because I loved my father and I wanted my son [also Jack] to come here and understand it all.
Abbott said it was right that the US president should be present but she was sad it was Trump who was in office. This is the guy with bone spurs who couldnt fight in Vietnam.
The event on Southsea Common will tell the story of the buildup to D-day through live music, performance and testimonials. Those not invited will be able to watch on big screens on the common, although some residents feel they have been pushed away from it because of the security.
Hundreds of veterans will attend the ceremony and up to 300 will board a cruise ship, the MV Boudicca, later on to retrace their route to Normandy 75 years ago accompanied – as they were then – by a flotilla of Royal Navy vessels.
The leader of Portsmouth council, Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said he hoped the protesters would stay away from the common and the Tory group leader in the city, Donna Jones, said demonstrations would make the event about Trump rather than the veterans.
The Normandy landings were the largest seaborne invasion in history. It saw the Allied invasion of Normandy beginning on June 6, 1944, and began the liberation of Nazi-occupied France, laying the foundation of Allied victory on the Western Front. Now, the anniversary of the operation, often referred to as D-Day, pays tribute to all those who fought and the sacrifices of the armed forces.
Celebrations are planned in various locations around France, the UK and USA to mark this historic date.
A lot of the UK celebrations are focused around Portsmouth, which was one of the key embarkation points for many of the landing craft.
‘Lighting the way to D-Day’ At the Royal Submarine Museum. Find out about the crucial role the X-class Submarines played in D Day. Entry is free with a valid attraction ticket or National Membership. Booking is not required.
Taking place at the recently extended 101 Outdoor Arts Creation Space on Greenham Business Park, ‘D-Day 75’ will comprise of interactive immersive performances from over 100 community performers, which will culminate in a celebratory tea dance led by a professional band of musicians.
National Commemorative event on Southsea Common with veterans, armed forces and VIP’s for a BBC program of live music, performance and flypasts. Tight security will prevent general public from viewing so large screens provided.
Royal Navy Frigate will fire a Naval gun salute followed by a fly-past of up to 25 historic and modern RAF aircraft including the Red arrows and the Spitfire
Royal British Legion’s specially chartered ship MV Boudicca will set sail from Portsmouth for Normandy with 300 veterans on board. Ships docked in port will pay their respects before the ship emerges into the Solent to be met by a flotilla of Royal Navy vessels who will sail past her and salute with sailors lining the decks. Members of the public are encouraged to line key vantage points to wave off the veterans as they re-trace the journey they made in 1944.
Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will fly over Portsmouth to mark the departure of the Royal British Legion ship.
D-Day 75th Land Run at The Xcel Leisure Centre (first day of 3-day event). D-Day runs will be 6-hour timed events where participants choose from 5km to ultra-marathon. Runners of all abilities welcomed.
Large screens at Southsea Common and in Guildhall Square will relay Royal British Legion’s commemorative events in Bayeux, France.
Ceremony and wreath-laying at the Normandy Veterans Memorial in the garden next to the town hall on Ridgeway Street.
Remembrance Service at the National Memorial Arboretum, followed by coverage of the events in France relayed on a large screen.
Remembrance Service at South Parade Pier at 10.45, and coverage will be shown on a big screen at Southsea Common.
Families with a connection to D-Day are invited to Spalding Parish Church on Thursday. Spalding branch of The Royal Naval Association (RNA) will play a lead role in remembering lives lost during the Allied landings on the beaches of Normandy. The commemorations in St Mary and St Nicolas Parish Church will include standards marching in for a service of remembrance and re-dedication. For the first time, there will be a wreath laid at the new WWII Memorial in Ayscoughfee Gardens in remembrance of the Spalding servicemen who lost their lives during the landings.
Remembrance Service in the Methodist Church Hall, followed by Garden of Remembrance Wreath Laying (Sandgate Road). In attendance, with local Normandy Veterans and representatives of Folkestone’s Ex-Service Associations and Standards, will be the Folkestone Town Mayor, Civic Dignitaries, Councillors, local youth organisations and members of the public. Representatives from the 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles and Shorncliffe Station will also be in attendance.
Uncovering Stories: York’s Normandy Veterans A talk at the York Explore Library Learning Centre. Tickets: £6 or £5 with a York Card.
The Scottish D-Day 75 Dinner At Prestonfield House Hotel, a black-tie dinner to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. Champagne reception at 1830hrs and black Tie Dinner from 1945hrs. VIP Military Dignitaries, live Auction, silent Auction and Prize Draw.
D-Day Special Edition talk about the History of RAF Wethersfield. Expect war time music and beer on offer.
Music hub and a Military Band Concert at 5pm at Southsea Common, followed by a symphony orchestra at 6pm. Family’s will then be able to enjoy an open air cinema screening at 7pm on Friday.
At the Llandudno War Memorial, D-Day and the Battle of Normandy Remembered, Activities taking place throughout the day.
D-Day 75 at Daedalus – HMS Daedalus was the busiest allied airfield in the UK on D-Day with more than 400 missions flown over Normandy so it will be a very special place from which to commemorate this important event. Aircraft will be a key feature with both static and flying aircraft to enjoy, and visitors can look forward to children’s activities, fun-fair rides, stage and arena performances, food stalls, gift and community stalls, vintage cars and more. Also on Sunday
‘The Kitchen Front’ – Serving traditional afternoon tea, high teas and cakes with loose leaf tea and artisan coffee. WAAF staff are on hand to serve you. Maximum 16 people capacity, so booking required.
As part of the D-Day Commemorative Service and Embarkation Convoy, vehicles depart Dorchester for Castletown.
At St Paul’s Gardens, where the Normandy Landings were planned by General Montgomery and others, there will be a commemorative anniversary gathering in the gardens with military vehicles, wartime music, food and drink, a children’s obstacle course and fun for all the family.
As part of the D-Day Commemorative Service and Embarkation Convoy, vehicle arrive in Castletown from Dorchester.
This weekend of commemoration will see two major outdoor concerts at the IBCC (International Bomber Command Centre). Saturday features the Stars of the 40’s with a wide range of tributes to Vera Lynn, George Formby, Gracie Fields, G.I. Frank Sinatra, Flanagan & Allen (see 9th June for seperate listing). Sketches from It Ain’t Half Hot and Dad’s Army will amuse and entertain. Bring your picnic blankets or chairs and relax whilst celebrating the best 40’s music. Full catering and bar available on site. Also on Sunday.
The Kitchen Front D-Day 75 Concert at Terry O’Toole Theatre. Following the International Bomber Command Centre’s themes of Recognition, Remembrance and Reconciliation, the IBCC Orchestra & Choir bring to life the personal endeavour and sacrifice of those on both sides of a conflict to free Europe from tyranny.
Southwick D-Day 75 Revival (first day of 2-day event). An exciting and unique opportunity for visitors from all over the world to breathe in the atmosphere of those historic days at the nerve-centre of Operation Overlord. Events over the two days include exclusive D-Day map room visits, talks by renowned Second World War military historians, Tiger Moth 9 Aeronautical Display, Battle of Britain Memorial Flight fly-past, Royal Navy Cadet Field Gun Run, “The Village at War” exhibition in the Church, 1940’s dinner dance, World War II military vehicles display and motorcade, period funfair, Horndean band and wartime sing along, swing dance lessons, 1940’s school lesson, steam bus rides, live music in the Golden Lion pub and Red Lion pub, walking history tours. Also Sunday.
Featuring the Stars of the 40’s with a wide range of tributes to Vera Lynn, George Formby, Gracie Fields, G.I. Frank Sinatra, Flanagan & Allen. Sketches from It Ain’t Half Hot and Dad’s Army will amuse and entertain. Bring your picnic blankets or chairs and relax whilst celebrating the best 40’s music. Full catering and bar available on site.
At Ramsbury Airfield (RAF Ramsbury) there will be a number of events to mark the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. These start with The Woodland Memorial Service at 11am, followed by the Runway Memorial Service at noon. Join members of the RAF, the USAF and our Armed services, visitors, guests and The Phoenix Brass Band / Bella Voce Choir. At 1pm there will be a reception and exhibition along with barbeque and refreshments available to buy.