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Liverpool to honour 80th anniversary of D-Day with series of events

4 weeks ago

Liverpool to honour 80th anniversary of D-Day with series of events
The D-Day memorial stone in St John’s Gardens. Image provided by Liverpool City Council

Next month, Liverpool will come together to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Normandy Landings with a series of poignant events.

The city will reflect on the historic manoeuvres of 6 June 1944, marking the beginning of the Battle of Normandy, or Operation Overlord, commonly known as D-Day.

This monumental event remains the largest seaborne invasion in history, involving approximately 160,000 troops crossing the English Channel in a single day. The invasion resulted in an estimated 10,000 Allied casualties.

Thursday, 6 June

At noon, The Merseyside Service of Celebration and Commemoration will be held in St John’s Gardens, featuring wreath-laying at the D-Day memorial stone.

This invitation-only service will be graced by the presence of distinguished guests, including the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Cllr Richard Kemp, the Lord-Lieutenant of Merseyside Mark Blundell, and the High Sheriff of Merseyside Professor John Mohin OBE DL.

Additionally, mayors from neighbouring boroughs will be in attendance.

The service will be led by The Reverend Canon Dr. Crispin Pailing MBE, the Rector of Liverpool, marking one of his final public appearances in this role.

Liverpool-born D-Day veteran Joseph Carter, who served in the Royal Navy, will be an honoured guest. Mr. Carter, now 100 years old, enlisted in 1942 at the age of 18 and served on HMS Mackay, which played a crucial role in bombarding defences on Juno Beach during D-Day.

He also served on a tank landing craft later in the campaign.

At 6.30pm on the same day, the bells of Liverpool Parish Church (St Nick’s) will ring out in a call for peace.

At 9.15 pm, Liverpool will join the nation in a symbolic act of remembrance as beacons are lit across the country.

In Liverpool, eight beacons will illuminate St George’s Plateau, remaining alight for 30 minutes as a tribute to those who fought and sacrificed.

St George’s Hall

Sunday, 9 June

The commemorations will continue with a grand march at 1.00pm, featuring 1,000 veterans accompanied by two bands.

The procession will start from Copperas Hill, proceed along Hanover Street, and conclude at the Royal Albert Dock at 1.30pm.

Reverend Canon Dr. Crispin Pailing will lead the prayers once again, and Liverpool’s Armed Forces Champion, Cllr Christine Banks, will read the national D-Day tribute. The service will conclude at 1.40 pm.

Throughout the commemorative period from 6-9 June, civic buildings across Liverpool will be lit in the patriotic colours of red, white, and blue. The Union Flag will also be displayed from the Town Hall.

Lord Mayor of Liverpool Cllr Richard Kemp said:

“Over the D-Day commemoration events I will be thinking about two things. Firstly, the crucial role that Liverpool played in getting supplies of all kinds from all over the world down to the Southern Front and across to the Eastern Front. We know that if those supplies had not got through then Hitler would have won the war.

“Secondly, I will be thinking very personally about the role that my father played. I recently discovered a letter he wrote on any bit of paper available between 3 June 1944 and 13 June to my Liverpool-born Mum who was in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force. He never knew that the letter would arrive or that he would survive. I will be reading some of his letter out during the events and particularly the way that he, an RAF LAC (Leading Aircraft Man) was on one of the first ships to leave harbour late on 5 June to go within 2.5 miles of the French coast where they provided radar information to guide in the bombers, gliders and fighters that provided cover and support to the landings.

“Over the past 80 years so much has happened and almost all of the D-Day heroes have passed on. I believe, however, that it is vital that we continue to remember those that risked or gave their lives to defend our precious freedoms.”

Cllr Richard Kemp. Credit: Liverpool City Council
Cllr Richard Kemp. Credit: Liverpool City Council

The Rector of Liverpool, The Reverend Canon Dr Crispin Pailing MBE, said: 

“Although it is 80 years since D-Day, the consequences of that remarkable military operation are part of our lives today.

“We take for granted the liberty we enjoy, but it was at a high cost. In our commemorations this year we pay tribute to the people of this city and across the world who gave so much for us, and we give thanks that so many returned.”

WO2 Billy Jones, Parade Sgt Major, said: 

“It is a great honour to be part of the team that has planned what we think will be the biggest veterans parade in the North of England to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of D-Day.

“I’m sure the people of Liverpool will be out in numbers to join the veterans and the military personnel on parade to celebrate a remarkable achievement and pay tribute to the men and women who sacrificed so much for the service of this country.”

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