ON THIS day 70 years ago, thousands of soldiers and sailors were preparing to do battle on the beaches to free Europe from Nazi rule.
And today Princess Anne has paid tribute to those who were involved in the D-Day operation.
The Princess Royal, who is also the Commodore in Chief of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth, will be in the city today to join families, veterans and serving members of the armed forces in a day of commemorations.
Speaking ahead of the events in Portsmouth today, Princess Anne said: ‘As Commodore in Chief of the Royal Navy in the Portsmouth area, it gives me great pleasure to join the city of Portsmouth to mark that day in history when Allied forces embarked on the largest single military operation in the history of warfare.
‘I know the planning and achievement of Operation Overlord is a source of pride in this great city.
‘People here are rightly proud of their contributions, and those of their parents and grandparents, to that daunting operation.
‘Here in Portsmouth we also remember the sacrifices made by the civilians in a city which had already been bombed, but were ready to treat the injured who returned from war, repair vessels in the dockyard, or bring tea to troops as they waited to embark.
‘We salute all those involved in Operation Overlord and we will remember them.’
The eyes of the nation will fall upon the Portsmouth area again today as the city hosts the main commemorations for the country.
The day begins with a mighty military parade along the seafront, before a poignant drumhead ceremony on Southsea Common.
Thousands of people are expected to attend, from veterans to sea cadets and their friends and families.
Royal Marines will storm the beaches in a display of skills as Royal Navy flagship HMS Bulwark sits in the Solent.
And the Red Arrows air display team will put on a spectacular 22-minute display in the skies over the city.
In the evening, an international flotilla will sail past Southsea including: HMS Bulwark; HNLMS Joan de Witte, a Dutch ship; FS Somme, a French tanker; BNS Crocus, a Belgian mine warfare vessel; and RDN Sabotoren, a Danish ship.
To round off the day, there will be a concert on Southsea Common put on by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.