COMMENT: This shameful D-Day decision must be reversed

Oh, what short memories those in government appear to have when it comes to marking D-Day.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 3rd October 2018, 7:51 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd October 2018, 8:59 pm

Portsmouth, the epicentre of the greatest and most audacious seaborne invasion in modern times, has proved repeatedly it can step up to the plate when anniversaries of the Normandy landings come around.

Yet today we discover the city has been snubbed by Whitehall in a plea for cash to commemorate D-Day 75 next June.

All it wanted was a measly £800,000 from the millions sloshing around in the Libor bank scandal fines fund to help towards what must surely be the final big commemoration of Operation Overlord.

Portsmouth's track record? Remember 1994 and the D-Day 50 commemorations? They lasted an entire weekend, were beamed around the globe and attracted most of the leaders of the free world to the city, including the Queen and President Clinton. The state banquet at Portsmouth Guildhall was a triumph.

Tens of thousands of people poured into Portsmouth for those unforgettable few days which burnished the city's image on the international stage and left us glowing with pride.

In 2014 it was D-Day 70 and, again, thousands of people from all over Britain came to Portsmouth for the national commemoration.

Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson is not averse to sticking in the political knife whenever the opportunity arises, but he might just have a point when he says: '˜I don't know whether the government doesn't like the navy or the city but we always seem to lose out.'

The few Normandy veterans now left deserve a national commemoration next year. It must be in Portsmouth. It should be funded by the government, and we urge it to do a quick about-turn on this shameful decision.