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Countdown to 70th Anniversary of D-Day landings

Portsmouth News 1 May 2014 said:
THE 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion is a ‘powerful reminder of the Royal Navy’s ability’, the First Sea Lord has said as he pays tribute to the efforts of all those involved.

Writing for The News, Admiral Sir George Zambellas highlighted the work of sailors who are deployed around the world on operations as Portsmouth prepares to mark 70 years since the landings which changed the Second World War. His comments come in the introduction to a special souvenir picture supplement published today. D-Day 70: In Pictures is a 48-page publication by The News featuring photographs from the historical library of this newspaper.

Adml Zambellas said: ‘I am delighted to be asked to provide the introduction to this commemorative D-Day newspaper. ‘Not only does it remind us of the selfless sacrifice made by so many in 1944, so that we might enjoy our freedom today, but it also reminds us that we are a nation which remains exquisitely dependent on the sea. And, in our continuing journey of maritime responsibility, Portsmouth remains just as vital and supportive today as it was 70 years ago.’ From light-hearted scenes on the streets of Portsmouth in the hours before the invasion began, to sobering shots of soldiers launching their assault on the beaches, D-Day 70: In Pictures aims to tell the story of D-Day as it happened.

Mark Waldron, the editor of The News, said: ‘Several detailed accounts of the D-Day invasion have already been written, but this publication aims to capture the atmosphere of the time through photographs and memories of those who took part. We have trawled through our picture archives and reproduced dozens of photographs taken by our own wartime photographers who were out on the streets of Portsmouth during that time. The result is very moving, and while light-hearted in places, does not underestimate the immense importance of the invasion’s success.’

The supplement also includes the official programme of events taking place in Portsmouth from June 5.

Portsmouth City Council is putting on a range of events from June 5 to June 8 and beyond, including a visit from Princess Anne, a display by the Red Arrows, and a Drumhead Ceremony on Southsea Common. D-Day, launched on June 6, 1944, from several sites along the south coast, heralded the beginning of the end of the Second World War.

Portsmouth News 30 Apr 2014 said:
A 1940s tea party will be held in Widley to mark the D-Day commemorations.

Christ Church Portsdown, in London Road, will be opening its doors to the public and oral history recordings from local people will be played to share their experiences of the Second World War. The church has a unique link to D-Day as it hosted a vigil on June 4, 1944 at which the headquarters staff of the British Second Army dedicated the liberation of Europe to Almighty God. The church also has a military cemetery.

The tea party takes place on Saturday, June 7. The night before, on June 6, a prayer vigil will be held at the church and a D-Day service of thanksgiving will take place on June 8. The Bishop of Portsmouth will be guest preacher on June 8.

The church was awarded a grant of £450 from Hampshire County Council to help pay for the project.
 
Vladimir Putin to attend 70th anniversary of D-Day

Further developments:

NY Daily News 8 May 2014 said:
The June 6 commemoration in Normandy, France, would mark the first time Putin and Western leaders have come face-to-face since the outbreak of the crisis in Ukraine.

WASHINGTON — Complicating the West’s efforts to isolate Russia, the Kremlin announced Thursday that Vladimir Putin will join President Obama and European leaders in France next month to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. The June 6 commemoration would mark the first time Putin and Western leaders have come face-to-face since the outbreak of the crisis in Ukraine.

While the White House said Obama would not meet one-on-one with Putin, U.S. officials did not appear to be seeking to stop him from attending...
 

onions

GCM
NG, I am trying to find info on Force "L". They were the back up ships that moved into position once the D Day fleet had sailed. Any ideas where I might get hold a list of the Landing Craft involved?
 
NG, I am trying to find info on Force "L". They were the back up ships that moved into position once the D Day fleet had sailed. Any ideas where I might get hold a list of the Landing Craft involved?

From page 91 of The D-Day Ships - Neptune: the Greatest Amphibious Operation in History by John de S. Winser:

LANDING SHIPS, TANK (LST)

-------------------------------------------------

Unnamed LSTs (Typical capacity 8 jeeps, 21 x 3-ton and 6 x 15-cwt trucks and 18 tanks; 177 troops). The following were allocated to Operation Neptune; those marked * HM LST(2), others US:

--------------------------------------------------

FORCE L

Loaded at Felixstowe, left Harwich and Thames, arrived Eastern Task Force area 6th (Follow-up Convoy L1):

LST 63*, 137, 165*, 175, 176, 198*, 200*, 208, 209, 214*, 237*, 261, 301*, 319*, 321*, 366*, 403*, 406*, 530, 534, 540.

Loaded at London (Tilbury Dock), left Thames, arrived Eastern Task Force area 6th (Follow-up Convoy L3):

LST 60, 138, 139, 295, 327, 360, 383, 384, 385, 386, 517, 521, 5225 524, 527, 528, 529, 535, 536, 537, 541, 542, 543, 682, 980, 981, 982, 983.

Loaded in Solent area, left Solent (Anchorage 26N), arrived Sword 7th (Follow-up Convoy L5/ETM1):

LST 162*, 163*, 164*, 415*, 430*.​

 
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Some more stories:
Belfast Telegraph 11 May 2014 said:
A D-Day tank that has been restored after lying abandoned by the banks of a canal in Normandy for years is to be unveiled on the 70th anniversary of the historic campaign. For years the Centaur tank, used to provide covering fire for Royal Marines during the Normandy landings, has laid abandoned on the bank of the Caen canal, near the famous Pegasus Bridge...

Only 80 of the unusual Centaur tanks, specifically adapted for use by the Royal Marines Armoured Support Group in the D-Day landings, were ever made, and it thought that just five remain.

Mark Worthington, curator of the Memorial Pegasus, said the tank will now join other artefacts preserved at the museum and its park. He said:

"There are only five of these left in the world to my knowledge and this is the only one of the five which actually landed on D-Day. It was on the bank of the Caen Canal about 500 yards from here, and it was falling to bits, literally falling to bits. So to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the 350th anniversary of the Royal Marines the tank was brought into the museum and is being restored a second time - it was already restored once in the 70s."

(more)
UK Government 10 Apr 2014 said:
The Royal Navy and Portsmouth City Council have launched a programme of summer events to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

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...

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.

AB Sarah George on board HMS Richmond.jpg
AB Sarah George with D-Day veteran Frank Rosier
(MoD photo)

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 [email protected]

(more)
 
p01xd2vp.jpg

Royal British Legion said:
Following the sell-out of The Royal Albert Hall concert, the BBC will now stream the special Friday Night is Music Night 'D-Day 70 Years On' to cinemas nationwide on Friday 6 June (7.30pm-10.00pm). Mindful of the fact that many veterans are in their late 80s and 90s, this live cinema broadcast will allow them, their families and others who are unable to travel to France, to embrace the event visually and mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day together. Profits from event will be donated to The Royal British Legion, SSAFA and SkillForce.

Marc Allenby, Director of Distribution at Picturehouse Entertainment, who set up the cinema deal said: "Cinemas were the lifeblood of information in wartime Britain and the main social centres for sharing news. They united the country in 1944 and will do so again 70 years on. It is fitting that cinemas nationwide can join the BBC in commemorating the anniversary in what will be a historic broadcast."
(more)
 
Daily Telegraph 17 Apr 2014 said:
Thousands of hours of historical footage showing major events, celebrities and simple day-to-day life from 1896 until 1976 has been uploaded to YouTube

British Pathé, the newsreel maker which documented all walks of life on video during the 20th Century, has uploaded its entire collection of moving images to YouTube. The archive of 3,500 hours of footage was digitised in 2002 thanks in part to a grant from the National Lottery, and is now freely accessible to anyone around the world for free. The unique collection of video covers major events, famous faces, travel, sport and culture and is a wealth of information onthe First and Second World Wars in particular...

These are among the most recent film clips released:
British Pathé News said:
On 6 June 1944, the invasion of Normandy began. British Pathé newsreels documented every stage of the liberation of Europe. This is the definitive collection.
 

9238961.jpg

Portsmouth News 13 May 2014 said:
Readers have praised the special magazine published by The News to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

D-Day 70 is available for just £2 from all shops and other outlets that stock The News. The 48-page magazine is also available by post, with a £1.10 charge for packing and postage when ordering by telephone. For postal orders please call 0844 292 0216 option 2. (Calls charged at local rates from land lines. Lines open Monday-Friday 9am until 7pm and 9am until 1pm on Saturdays.)

Alternatively you can order your copy by text message. Simply send a message starting with PEN70SUB plus your full name and address to 65550. The total message must not exceed 155 characters. All text messages cost £3 (which covers the price of the magazine and its delivery) plus standard network charge. The closing date for orders is midnight on June 20, 2014. Message received after the closing date won’t be accepted but may still be charged...
 
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will attend a number of D-Day 70th anniversary commemoration events in Normandy:
TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will attend a number of D-Day 70th anniversary commemoration events in Normandy

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will meet several World War II veterans on 5th and 6th June in Normandy when they attend commemoration events to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day. The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will meet veterans of the Glider Pilot Regiment, The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, The Parachute Regiment, the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion and many others.

A full list of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall's engagements is below:

Thursday 5th June 2014

  • The Prince of Wales, Colonel-in-Chief, Army Air Corps, and The Duchess of Cornwall will meet veterans of the Glider Pilot Regiment at Pegasus Bridge and lay a wreath at the Glider Pilot Memorial.
  • The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will visit 70th Power Boat Squadron and visit power boats involved in the Normandy Landings.
  • The Prince of Wales, Colonel-in-Chief, The Parachute Regiment, and The Duchess of Cornwall will attend a lunch with veterans at Ranville.
  • The Prince of Wales, Colonel-in-Chief, The Parachute Regiment, will present, on behalf of The Parachute Regiment, a bust of Major Jack Watson MC to the Commune of Ranville, at the Marie of Ranville.
  • The Duchess of Cornwall, Colonel-in-Chief, The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, will meet veterans and serving members of the Regiment and afterwards tour the Juno Beach Centre, Courseulles-sur-Mer.
  • The Prince of Wales, Colonel-in-Chief, The Parachute Regiment, will attend a commemorative parachute drop by representatives of British, American, French and Canadian Armed Forces, at Ranville.
  • The Prince of Wales, Colonel-in-Chief, The Parachute Regiment, will attend a memorial service to commemorate the actions of Airborne Forces and the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, at Le Mesnil Bavent, France.
  • The Prince of Wales, Colonel-in-Chief, The Parachute Regiment, will attend a Reception, at Breville Les Monts, France.
Friday 6th June 2014

  • The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will attend the Royal British Legion Service of Remembrance, Bayeux Cathedral.
  • The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will attend the Service of Remembrance, Bayeux War Graves Cemetery.
  • The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will attend the Ceremony of Remembrance, at Colleville-Montgomery-Plage, to commemorate the Allied Normandy Landings.
  • The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will attend a Ceremony of Remembrance at the Juno Beach Centre, Courseulles-sur-Mer, to commemorate Canada's role in the Normandy Landings.
The Prince of Wales attended the 60th anniversary commemorations of D-Day in 2004. On that occasion The Prince of Wales released an anniversary message, which can be found at A message from HRH The Prince of Wales on the 60th Anniversary of D-Day
 
D-Day veterans gather on board HMS Belfast for launch of 70th anniversary events

Daily Telegraph 20 May 2014 said:
D-Day veterans gather on board HMS Belfast for launch of 70th anniversary events

John Crossman was a 16-year-old Boy Seaman aboard HMS Belfast as it bombarded the Normandy coast on D-Day. He saw sights that day that no man, let alone a boy, should ever have to witness.

“The main feeling I remember is one of awe, seeing all the landing craft and the hundreds of aircraft overhead,” he said yesterday as he returned to the Belfast for the official start of the D-Day 70th anniversary events. “And I saw some terrible things. I remember American paratroopers being dropped into the sea and drowning, and in the days after D-Day I saw HMS Swift broken in two by a mine and the two parts of the ship sticking out of the water and sinking. I can still see it now.”

Mr Crossman, now 87, was the youngest member of HMS Belfast’s crew on June 6, 1944, working as a fuse setter on one of its twin four-inch guns. Yesterday he joined three of his Belfast shipmates and other D-Day veterans on the deck, where David Cameron told them: “Seventy years ago you did your country proud and your country will always, always be immensely proud of you.”

The Prime Minister added: “People don’t like perhaps to talk about good and evil very much any more but that’s what this day was, a victory of good over evil and every single person in this country should be truly proud of the part that Britain played.”

HMS Belfast, now moored in the Thames as part of the Imperial War Museum, was chosen as the venue for the start of the D-Day commemorations because the cruiser fired one of the first shots of the bombardment, at 5.27am, as it lay three miles off Juno beach...(more)
 
D-Day commemorations commence

Some interesting photos:
UK Government website 21 May 2014 said:
Ceremonies to mark the start of the 70th anniversary commemorations of the D-Day landings have taken place this week.

Prime Minister David Cameron joined D-Day veterans on Second World War warship HMS Belfast yesterday (20 May) at a ceremony to mark the forthcoming 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings. The ship led the commemorations with a ceremony for veterans who served on it during the assault, as well as other veterans from the campaign, including Chelsea Pensioners and members of the Normandy Veterans Association. A Douglas C-47 Dakota flypast along the Thames on behalf of the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight then followed...

Also this week, HMS Bulwark gave a taster to the people of Gosport of what it will be doing as part of the commemorations on 5, 6 and 7 June...

The assault ship will lead the Royal Navy’s contingent of 5 ships and Royal Marines, as well as an international flotilla, to the beaches of the coast of Normandy, France, where a number of high-profile ceremonies and services will be held. The events will begin with a demonstration of the ship’s amphibious capability, in Southsea on 5 June, and culminate in services at the Bayeux Cathedral cemetery and Arromanches, and ceremonies at Sword Beach on 6 June and then at Port-en-Bessin on 7 June.

As part of the Royal Air Force’s contributions to the 70th anniversary D-Day commemorations, a specially-painted Typhoon jet with D-Day invasion stripes was unveiled at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire, where it also completed a dual flypast...
 
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