PORTSMOUTH will play host to Britain’s D-Day 75 commemorations, the Ministry of Defence has announced today.
Flypasts, a drumhead ceremony and other as yet unconfirmed events will take place on Southsea Common.
It comes after Portsmouth hosted D-Day 70 in 2014 – with thousands of people visiting the city to mark the commemorations.
Now D-Day veterans, families and supporters are being asked to once again come to Portsmouth – where many of them departed from in June 1944 – to mark the Normandy Landings, which turned the tide of the Second World War.
The Ministry of Defence said it is expected the events will take place between June 5 to June 9.
And the ministry has confirmed the 2019 commemorations will be of ‘similar size and scale’ to 2014
Announcing the decision, defence minister Earl Howe said: ‘Portsmouth was a key part of the D-Day operation, from the headquarters at Southwick House to the huge marshalling areas and embarkation points, which the newly refurbished D-Day museum showcases.
‘Along with our partners The Royal British Legion and Portsmouth City Council, we are committed to help make as many veterans aware of these events as possible, and we hope friends and family of veterans will do the same.’
Councillor Steve Pitt, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport at Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘D-Day was a pivotal moment in the Second World War, and it's important to continue to commemorate the anniversary in recognition of our veterans, celebrate the contribution of our current service personnel and showcase our military history in a way that only Portsmouth can.’
The Normandy Landings began on June 6, 1944, when allied forces assaulted Nazi-occupied Europe by air, sea and land.
Charles Byrne, director general of The Royal British Legion, said: ‘The achievements of all involved in the D-Day landings of 1944 cannot be overstated and with the 75th anniversary approaching we want to ensure that the events in Portsmouth, as well as those in Normandy and at the National Memorial Arboretum, reflect the accomplishments of this remarkable group of people.
‘I would encourage all D-Day veterans, and their family and friends, to get in touch with the legion so we can ensure your wishes are included in planning this historic day.’
Veterans are being asked to register their interest for commemorations by visiting www.britishlegion.org.uk/dday75
Major events will also take place in Normandy during the same period.
More information on D-Day 75 will be announced early next year.
As reported, the Treasury rejected a funding bid for the commemorations from the Libor banking scandal fines fund.