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Gosport residents invited to attend D-Day celebrations

By Connor Steel

GOSPORT RESIDENTS have been invited to attend local commemoration events for the ‘”eightieth anniversary” of the D-Day landings next month; which will join fellow occasions across the country to mark the significant moment in World War Two and further give tributes to those who paid the ulimate sacrifice during this ‘biggest ever’ amphibious invasion.

Approximately four thousand ships and landing craft ‘set down’ over 130000 troops upon five Normandy beaches early on June 6, 1944; a mission that would bring about the ‘liberation’ of North-West Europe from Nazi occupation. Gosport was heavily involved as both Stokes Bay and Hardway were chosen as embarkation points for tanks / support vehicles.

The borough will therefore take part in the “National Beacon Lighting” on June 6 (Thursday) that will celebrate the “light of peace” that came out of the darkness of the war. It will be lit at 9:15pm from the slipway opposite Stokes Bay Sailing Club with the Mayor of Gosport, Cllr Richard Earle, taking the honours whilst the National Tribute is read out to crowds.

A second event will be held on June 9 (Sunday) from the foreshore at Hardway (Priory Road) as a service and a period of silence led by Revd Emma McPhail is scheduled. Before this a parade will step off the junction of Quay Lane / Priory Road at 10.20am led by the ‘Royal Marine Volunteer Cadet Band’ and are set to join an unarmed guard of HMS Sultan.

These two events will join the special D-Day occasion to be held at ‘Daedalus‘ on June 8 / 9; whilst Southsea Common will host two big televised services to be shown live on the BBC during June 5. The first will be attended by high profile figures such as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and King Charles III, whilst the evening event will see a tribute to the fallen.

PICTURED BY ALAMY (2RT9K40): Gosport’s D-Day memorial is near the Falklands Gardens overlooking the harbour.