Published: Tuesday, 14th May 2024

Warwick District will be joining towns and cities across the country in commemorating the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings next month.

Thursday 6 June 2024 marks 80 years since Operations Neptune and Overlord, the largest air, land, and sea invasion as the Allies sought to retake Western Europe from the Nazis. The operation saw over 209,000 Allied casualties, which the commemorations will honour and remember.

At 8am, Warwick’s Town Crier, Michael Reddy, will read ‘The D-Day 80 Proclamation’ on the steps of Shire Hall.

Schools throughout the district will be reading the ‘D-Day Heroes’ poem at 11am, which tells the story of the planning and execution of the landings and honours those that took part.

The Leamington branch of the Royal British Legion will be holding a short service at the War Memorial on Euston Place at 11am.

At 9.15pm, the district will join the nation in lighting the beacon at Newbold Comyn as The International Tribute is read by the Chairman of Warwick District Council.

The reading of the Proclamation at 8am and the lighting of the beacon at Newbold Comyn 9.15pm will both be live streamed on Warwick District Council’s Facebook page.

From 7.30pm to 9.30pm, Kenilworth Town Council will be hosting a commemorative event at Kenilworth Castle featuring a ringing of local church bells, a performance by local school choirs, a piper and the lighting of a beacon in one of the Castle’s towers.

Councillor Pam Redford, Warwick District Council’s Armed Forces Covenant Champion, said: “The bravery and sacrifice by so many on D-Day deserves to be recognised. The sheer scale of the operation, the largest in history, involved not only those landing on the beaches, but the many at home providing vital support. The nation came together when we needed them the most, so I am delighted that Warwick District will be joining the nation in commemorating all who fought so valiantly via land, air and sea, for the freedoms we enjoy today.”

Warwick’s military museums will also be marking the 80th anniversary of D-Day with various events, highlighting the stories of the local Regiments that took part.

The Fusilier Museum Warwick, which tells the story of the 350-year history of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, is holding a series of talks and a temporary exhibition to mark the Regiment’s contribution during D-Day.

A D-Day Commemoration event is being held at The Court House in Warwick on Saturday 1 June, with a series of public talks including from military historian Peter Hart, exploring the role of The Royal Warwickshire Regiment during D-Day. Tickets are available from The Fusilier Museum Warwick (£22) or can be booked via Eventbrite (£25).

The commemoration event also offers an opportunity to see the museum’s temporary exhibition, “Ashore We Stumbled – The Royal Warwickshire Regiment and D-Day” which runs until Thursday 19 September. The exhibition will provide fascinating insight through stories of the soldiers of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment on D-Day, illustrated through special artefacts from the invasion including striking items from the German adversaries. The exhibition will tell the account of the movements of the Warwicks and soldiers in their landing and advance across Normandy.

Retired Lt. Col. John Rice, Chair of Trustees at The Fusilier Museum Warwick, said: “Commemorating the period before, during, and after the D-Day landings in Normandy, this exhibition will intrigue many, from military enthusiasts to the casually interested alike. It is a fascinating journey through the most critical period of World War Two, exploring the personal history of soldiers in Warwickshire through one of the most widely captivating eras of recent history.”

A temporary exhibition promoting the recently launched ‘Warwick Military Heritage Trail’ will be on display at the Visitor Information Centre in The Court House from 1 to 12 June, highlighting the unique military history and heritage offer in the town. The Warwickshire Yeomanry Museum will also be displaying information on the vital role of the Warwickshire Yeomanry in Italy at the time the D-Day landings were taking place in France.

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