IT WAS a day that turned the tide of the Second World War, spelling the end of Hitler’s grip on Europe – but at a terrible toll.
Now Portsmouth will once again unite to mark the courage and heroism of the young men who led the largest amphibious invasion of Europe 74 years ago – those who were part of D-Day.
More than 4,000 Allied soldiers lost their lives in the invasion of the Normandy beaches on June 6, 1944, in an attack planned at Southwick House and launched from Portsmouth.
Among those to fight was Cosham veteran Arthur Bailey. He was just 20 when he landed on Gold Beach.
The 94-year-old, of Hawthorne Crescent, said: ‘We can never forget this. It was the greatest battle that the world has ever seen. We had to win it.’
Events begin today, with Southsea’s D-Day Story attraction staging a family event, with talks from the museum’s curator at 11am on equipment and 2pm on research.
Then, on Wednesday, the city is unveiling its newest tribute to the D-Day heroes – a wall at D-Day Story capable of holding the names of 10,000 people who took part in the invasion.
Veterans, like Arthur, will also be talking to visitors inside the museum.
Elsewhere, a memorial service is due to take place on June 6 at the D-Day Memorial Stone in Southsea at 10.15am. Members of the Royal British Legion, veterans and councillors will join the march.
Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of Portsmouth City Council, is urging the residents to join the event.
He said: ‘D-Day was an enormous moment in history.
‘The part it played in destroying the forces of extremism and fascism is incredibly important.
‘The invasion of Europe started here in Portsmouth on June 6. The world has been a better and safer place because of the sacrifices our ancestors made 74 years ago – we should never forget this.’