DCSIMG

D-Day 70: ‘A lot of the boys who went ashore never came back’

Service 

Major Matthew Guymer MBE (90)  is kept in good company by (right) Sgt. Allan Woods  of 106 Rgt. Royal Artillery 295 Battery as they watch Her Majesty The Queen in France on the big screens at Southsea.
 

Picture: Malcolm Wells (141686-3823)

Service Major Matthew Guymer MBE (90) is kept in good company by (right) Sgt. Allan Woods of 106 Rgt. Royal Artillery 295 Battery as they watch Her Majesty The Queen in France on the big screens at Southsea. Picture: Malcolm Wells (141686-3823)

IT WAS a day when the echoes of 70 years ago were heard around the world.

In Portsmouth, veterans, their friends and families and ordinary people keen to pay their respects stopped for a moving commemoration by the D-Day stone on Southsea Common, followed by a parade.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Channel, the Queen, Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin were among the dignitaries and heads of state who gathered in Normandy to mark the bravery of those who had stormed the northern French beaches 70 years before.

But regardless of where services were held, there was the same blend of admiration for the actions of those who took part in the D-Day landings, sadness that so many perished so terribly, and gratitude for the liberation that they helped to effect.

On Southsea Common, there was the powerful remembrance service and tales of bravery and horror retold on big screens. Live coverage was screened of commemorative events attended by dignitaries in France.

On Gold Beach in Normandy, Royal Marines re-enacted the landings as they had in Southsea the previous day.

And hundreds of veterans were treated as guests of honour throughout the day as they returned to the area.

Their bravery was at the forefront of many people’s minds back in Southsea.

Sophie Hodder, 33, joined by her daughters Tia, two, and Izzy, one, and their grandmother Pauline Tilt, 65, said it was emotional hearing of the key role women had in the factories back at home, ensuring soldiers had the equipment they needed.

Sophie, who lives in Senegal, said: ‘It’s important that we remember what happened because as this generation grows up, they won’t have grandparents who were alive during the war.

‘I cried while watching on the big screen what people went through. It’s very emotional seeing it all.’

Tom Cross, 29, with his wife Laura, 29, and children Amelie, two, and Oskar, four months, said: ‘We wanted to come and pay our respects. Those involved in D-Day gave up their lives so we could have the life we lead now.’

Veterans spoke of their sadness at the loss of life.

Albert Dyason, 92, a former Royal Navy petty officer who arrived at Juno Beach on D-Day, said: ‘I was hoping I would have seen someone from my ship.

‘A lot of the boys who went ashore never came back.’

This weekend sees a range of D-Day-related events, including an armed forces reserve parade and a 1940s concert.

 

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