Join the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as they mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings...
6 June 2014
Seventy years ago today, Normandy’s beaches were a battlefield. Supreme Allied Commander, General Eisenhower had given the go ahead for an early morning amphibious raid, made up of 175,000 Alllied troops and more than 5,000 ships, that would catch the Germans unaware and change the course of the war.
By 6pm when Churchill addressed Parliament, the Allies were already well on their way to liberating France thanks to the daring assault.
Today, the beaches on the Northern French coast will fall silent as veterans, world leaders and royal dignitaries reflect. Join them as we pay tribute to those who risked their lives in the pursuit of freedom. Many of whom who never came home…
Commemorations are currently under way in Normandy to mark the seven decades.
French Prime Minister Francois Hollande attended a service near Bayeux with US President Barack Obama. He described the 6 June 1994 as a day that ‘changed the world’ while President Obama said American commitment to liberty was ‘written in blood’ on the beaches.
The Queen has also been paying tribute to the fallen. She laid a wreath at the Commonwealth war graves cemetery nearby.
The Queen was joined by the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall for a very moving morning in France. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expected to arrive shortly for the rest of the day’s events.
Earlier today, veterans gathered on the beaches that they fought to liberate one last time.
It’s been a busy day already for veterans and visiting dignitaries, with events happening all over Normandy.
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall will now attend a rememberance ceremony at the Juno Beach Centre, while the Queen joins President Obama and other world leaders at the beach codenamed ‘Sword’.
Today might be the official anniversary of the D-Day landings, but there have been week long commemorations in France.
The Queen joined French Prime Minister Francois Hollande in Paris at the beginning of her state visit to pay tribute to the country’s war dead and meet veterans of the conflict.
While Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall laid a wreath at Pegasus Bridge in Normandy, where British soldiers touched down on gliders to begin the invasion just after midnight on 6th June 1944.
His heartfelt message read: ‘In ever-grateful remembrance of your service and sacrifice, Charles.’
The couple posed for a photograph with veterans and serving soldiers to mark the occasion as the sun shone.
Eighty-nine year old veteran, Jock Hutton, marked the anniversary by reliving his D-Day experience. He parachuted in to the same field he landed in seventy years ago.
This time, Prince Charles was on the ground to express his gratitude to Jock for his bravery as he touched down.
Once he was back on the ground, Jock spoke of the pressure his parachute regiment was under on the day.
‘We left the aircraft at about 500 feet – nine of us in each aircraft’, he told Sky News. ‘(We) smashed into the ground … we had a task to do, that was foremost in our minds.
‘You couldn’t just reach the ground and sit on your backside. Our main task was to liberate Ranville, which we did before first light.’
The commemorations are filled with personal stories. The Duchess of Cornwall pauses on Juno Beach to chat with a veteran.
For many former soldiers, today holds great poignance as it will be the last time they honour their fallen comrades by traveling to Normandy.
Those who attended the wreath laying at Pegasus Bridge were also treated to a fly past by spitfires painted in the black and white stripes of D-Day.
The last surviving veterans gathered on this side of the Channel too for a ceremony in Portsmouth yesterday, marking the preparations made by the British troops to invade Nazi-occupied France on the day before the assault.
Princess Anne presided over proceedings, taking the salute and chatting with those who experienced the event first hand.
Between 2,500 and 4,000 Allied troops lost their lives on the beaches in Normandy. Many of whom were British.
Southsea played host to a spectacular Red Arrows display yesterday as crowds flocked to the beach to relive a momentous day in history.
A very British tribute in the skies over the English Channel, as the Red Arrows smoke turned red, white and blue.
Portsmouth and Southsea beach were the depature points for troops headed to Sword Beach in Normandy. Yesterday, the Royal Marines staged a similar landing on the south coast to show spectators just how difficult that day was.