D-Day: Events & Stories


D-Day

June 6, 2024 is the 80th anniversary of the D-Day Landings at Normandy in France.

While the country — and indeed the world — is rightly busy commemorating this incredible event in our history, there have been many great tales of heroism emerging.

Here, the “Friend” takes a look at some of the events and stories to mark this momentous day.

Inspiring Events & Stories

King Charles and Prince William, joined by Queen Camilla, led tributes in Portsmouth on June 5 calling on people to live up to the freedom soldiers died for, paying an emotional tribute to surviving veterans. He urged the nation to “remember, cherish and honour” the brave men and women who served that day.

The Royal British Legion will be hosting a service of Remembrance at the National Memorial Arboretum on 6 June 2024, to commemorate 80 years since the D-Day landings.

In France, The UK National Commemorative Event in Normandy will take place on 6 June 2024 at the British Normandy Memorial in Ver-sur-Mer. The British Normandy Memorial contains the names of the 22,442 British servicemen and women who fell on D-Day and during the Battle of Normandy in 1944. The 80th anniversary of D-Day will mark the first time the British Normandy Memorial has been at the centre of major anniversary commemorations.

It wasn’t just combat troops that made the D-Day Landings possible. Here’s an intriguing story of how important weathermen were in the planning and execution of the operation.

Despite the bravery of everyone involved, we were interested to read that Sgt Major Stanley Elton Hollis was the only man awarded a Victoria Cross for his actions that day.

And finally, a local connection: here’s the story of Phyllis Henninger, a Dundee nurse who served in one of the first field hospitals established after the Allied victory.

D-Day In Numbers

D-Day was the largest military operation in human history. Just a few of the staggering numbers involved put it into perspective:

  • 18,000 paratroopers dropped into the invasion area shortly after midnight on June 6, 1944
  • 73,000 British soldiers landed on June 6, 1944
  • Allied air forces flew more than 14,000 missions in support of the landings
  • Nearly 7,000 naval vessels were involved, including everything from landing craft to battleships and destroyers
  • More than 150,000 allied troops landed on the five designated beaches (Juno, Sword, Gold, Utah and Omaha)
  • Allied troops from a number of countries took part (including the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia, Belgium, Czechoslovakia*, the Netherlands, France, Greece, New Zealand, Norway, Rhodesia** and Poland)
    *Now the Czech Republic/Slovakia **Now Zimbabwe
  • Five years ago, 225 British veterans made the journey to Normandy for the 75th anniversary of D-Day. This year, for the 80th anniversary, 23 travelled.

Read poignant poetry from WWII and wartime letters from our readers.
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Iain McDonald

Iain is Digital Content Editor at the "Friend", making him responsible for managing flow of interesting and entertaining content on the magazine's website and social media channels.