Poppies, dropped from a Lancaster bomber, fall over a Royal Marines landing craft off the Normandy coast (library image) [Picture: Sergeant Jack Pritchard RAF, Crown copyright]
29 January 2014 Ministry of Defence
The Ministry of Defence has announced its involvement in the Normandy landings 70th anniversary commemorations.
Personnel from all 3 services will provide logistic and ceremonial support at a range of events taking place on 5 and 6 June this year at the historic anniversary in France.
The commemorations, known as ‘Normandy 70’, will be supported by the armed forces. This work is being led by the Force Troops Command and 3rd (UK) Division of the British Army, the division that led the assault onto Sword Beach 70 years ago.
Events taking place in the Normandy region include ceremonies on 5 June to mark the liberation of Ranville by the British 13th Parachute Battalion – the first village to be liberated on D-Day.
Members of 16 Air Assault Brigade will mount a mass parachute drop, which will be followed by a memorial service at the statue of Field Marshal Montgomery in Colleville-Montgomery.
On 6 June, a joint UK-French service of remembrance will take place at Bayeux Cathedral, followed by a special event at the Bayeux Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery.
Speaking about the plans for the 70th anniversary, Defence Minister Lord Astor said:
I’m delighted that the Ministry of Defence will be supporting the veterans of this historic campaign as they gather to remember on the beaches of Normandy. The 70th anniversary will be an occasion for us all to pay fitting tribute to those who fought for the liberation of Europe, and I know that our servicemen and women will be honoured to take part.
The Ministry of Defence is working closely with partners across government and with external agencies, including the Normandy Veterans Association, the Royal British Legion and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, to deliver a fitting programme of commemorations to mark the anniversary.
Further details, including information on the form and content of events for the anniversary, will be announced in due course.
Veterans wishing to return to Normandy in June will be able to apply for financial support from the Big Lottery Fund, which last February extended its Heroes Return 2 scheme until December 2015. The scheme helps Second World War veterans and their spouses, widows and widowers, and accompanying helpers, to undertake commemorative visits.