COMMENT: A great way to bring D-Day remembrance close to home
Excitement is palpable in Portsmouth as the 75th anniversary of D-Day approaches, and the city will once again swell with pride at the part its people have played in the defence of the realm.
We report one aspect today with the story of devoted royalist, OAP David Weeks who has had a specially patriotic outfit made for the occasion in red, white, blue and gold, emblazoned with union jacks. He will make a splendid sight as the great and good, including The Queen and US President Donald Trump visit Portsmouth to lead the nation’s commemorations.
But amid the razzmatazz, Portsmouth is determined to bring home the true meaning of the events, which is all about the courage and sacrifices of the men and women who made that fateful journey to France on June 6,1944, and those who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make Operation Overlord the turning point of the second world war.
So it is marvellous to see that 119 plaques will be springing up in the streets of Portsmouth to honour the men from the city killed between June 6, 1944 and August 31, 1944 – the invasion of Normandy.
The move echoes a similar tribute by Portsmouth City Council last year to commemorate men killed during the First World War.
Portsmouth was one of the main embarkation points for troops taking part in the invasion of Normandy. In all, about 154,000 Allied soldiers took part in the operation. The war ended 11 months after the invasion.
While many of the D-Day troops came from elsewhere in the UK, many were leaving from home ground, and it will be poignant for residents to learn of their historic neighbours who went off to take part in this great call to arms, many of whom would not return.
It is a great way to teach a new generation about this day in history that means so much to Portsmouth and Britain.