IN PICTURES: UK commemorates 80th anniversary of the Normandy Landings with a series of major events

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RAF Red Arrows flypast of Omaha beach, Normandy for D-Day 80th Anniversary. Photographer: Cpl Phil Dye. UK MOD © Crown copyright 2024

The UK commemorated the 80th anniversary of the Normandy Landings in June 2024 with a series of major commemorations and events across the UK and in France yesterday (6 June).

Known as D-Day, the historic operation saw the Allied Forces mount a large-scale invasion of Nazi-occupied France, that ultimately tipped the course of the Second World War in the Allies’ favour.

His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Queen, seen here with President of France Emmanuel Macron and his wife at the British Normandy Memorial in Ver-sur-Mer France. Photographer:
Cpl Tim Hammond Copyright: UK MOD © Crown copyright 2024

D-Day, 6 June 1944, was codenamed Operation Overlord, and would see the largest amphibious invasion in the history of warfare.

The ‘D’ in D-Day stands simply for ‘Day’ and the term was used to describe the first day of any large military operation. 

Veterans salute at the Veterans Parade in Arromanche, France, on Thursday, the 6th of June, 2024, where thousands of people turned. Photographer: Petty Officer Joel Rouse Copyright:
UK MOD © Crown copyright 2024

It was on this day that allied forces launched a combined naval, air and land assault on the beaches of Normandy, it was the start of the campaign to liberate Europe and defeat Germany.

Pictured: a Royal Marines Landing Craft Utility, beached on Gold Beach, and open to visitors. Photographer: Petty Officer Joel Rouse Copyright: UK MOD © Crown copyright 2024

To build up resources for the invasion, British factories increased production, and in the first half of 1944, approximately 9 million tonnes of supplies and equipment crossed the Atlantic from North America to Britain.

D-Day required unprecedented cooperation between the Armed Forces of multiple nations.

mage of a veteran, seen here at the British Normandy Memorial in Ver-sur-Mer France. Photographer: Simon Dawson Copyright: UK MOD © Crown copyright 2024

By 1944, over 2 million troops from over 12 countries had gathered in England to prepare for the invasion. Consisting primarily of American, British, and Canadian troops, it also included Australian, Belgian, Czech, Dutch, French, Greek, New Zealand, Norwegian, Rhodesian, and Polish naval, air or ground support.

A tourist dressed in US World War II style clothing watches as an amphibious vehicle passes on Gold Beach. The annual celebrations for D-Day were held in the Normandy town of Arromanche, France, on Thursday, the 6th of June, 2024, where thousands of people turned up to witness historic vehicles on the beaches and people dressed in World War Two style clothing. Photographer: Petty Officer Joel Rouse UK MOD © Crown copyright 2024

Early on 6 June 1944, Allied airborne forces parachuted into drop zones across northern France. Ground troops then landed across five assault beaches – Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword. By the end of the day, the Allies had established a foothold along the coast and could begin their advance into France.

Across the country, events took place to COMMEMORATE D-DAY 80 Pictured: Royal Marines Volunteer Cadet Corps take part in the parade. On 6th June 2024, members of the public along with invited guests came together to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day with a memorial service at the D-Day Memorial in Southsea. Photographer: LPhot Belinda Alker Copyright: ©UK Ministry of Defence CROWN COPYRIGHT, 2024

The statistics of D-Day were staggering. Allied forces used over 5,000 ships and landing craft to land more than 150,000 troops on five beaches in Normandy. The landings marked the start of a long and costly campaign in north-west Europe, which ultimately convinced the German high command that defeat was inevitable. 

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh KG KT GCVO and HRH the Duchess of Edinburgh GCVO stand and lay wreathes at the memorial service at the National Memorial Arboretum. Photographer:
Cpl Nathan Edwards Copyright: UK MOD © Crown copyright 2024

By June 30, over 850,000 men, 148,000 vehicles, and 570,000 tons of supplies had landed on the Normandy shores. By August 1944 northern France had been liberated and by spring of 1945 the Allies had defeated the Germans. Historians often refer to D-Day as the beginning of the end of World War II.

However, this came at a great cost with many lives lost on both sides. And so, 80 years on, surviving veterans, families, and those supporting them are gathering in Portsmouth and Normandy to remember and to reflect on those losses.

Image of the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (left), seen here at the British Normandy Memorial in Ver-sur-Mer France yesterday (06/06/2024). This was part of the UK’s major commemorative event in Normandy to mark the 80th Anniversary of D-Day. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty visit the British Normandy Memorial near Gold Beach, alongside Military veterans, the President of France Emmanuel Macron, and King Charles III to mark the D-Day 80th anniversary in France. Photographer: Simon Dawson Copyright: UK MOD © Crown copyright 2024

Photos:  MOD Crown Copyright News / Editorial Licence.

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