Colchester to honour D-Day heroes on 80th Anniversary

PUBLISHED: 30 May 2024

Colchester City Council is proud to announce a series of commemorative events to mark the 80th Anniversary of D-Day on Thursday, 6 June 2024.

The day will begin at 10am with a poignant ceremony led by the Mayor on the steps of Colchester Town Hall. The D-Day 80 Flag of Peace will be raised, followed by the reading of a specially written proclamation by Town Crier, Robert Needham. The Pegasus flag of 16 Air Assault Brigade, based at the city’s Merville Barracks, will be flying.

At 12.30pm, a commemorative service will be held in conjunction with Colchester Garrison at the Colchester War Memorial. This service will provide an opportunity for the community to come together and remember all those who lost their lives during the Normandy Landings and in the subsequent liberation of Europe.

Later in the evening, the Mayor, accompanied by the Town Watch, will lead a procession from the Town Hall to Castle Park, where a beacon will be lit at 9.15pm to commemorate the anniversary, concluding a day of remembrance and reflection.

The Mayor of Colchester, Cllr Lesley Scott-Boutell, said: “The D-Day landings were a pivotal moment in history, and it is important that we take the time to remember the sacrifices made by those who fought for our freedom. Colchester’s events will contribute to a nationwide outpouring of remembrance, ensuring their bravery is never forgotten.

“We are indebted to the courage and sacrifice of the Allied forces who landed on the beaches of Normandy. Their actions helped to pave the way for the liberation of Europe and the eventual defeat of Nazi Germany.

“These commemorations will provide an opportunity for the people of Colchester to come together and pay their respects to all those who played a part in this momentous event.”

Lieutenant Colonel Ed Rankin, Commander of Colchester Garrison, said: “The D-Day landings – both from the air and on the beaches – were one of the most ambitious and significant military operations ever undertaken. It is right that we should honour the bravery and sacrifice of all who took part to ensure the freedoms we enjoy today.

“For the soldiers of Colchester Garrison, as the home of the British Army’s airborne forces, we pay particular tribute to the soldiers of 6th Airborne Division who landed by parachute or glider. Today’s soldiers are conscious that they shoulder the responsibility of maintaining the high standards set on D-Day.”

Troops from 16 Air Assault Brigade are in Normandy for events to mark the anniversary, including a commemorative parachute jump on to one of the drop zones used in 1944.

The allied assault on Normandy on 6 June 1944 – codenamed Operation Overlord – marked the beginning of the liberation of northwest Europe from Nazi control. Some 24,000 airborne soldiers had landed by parachute and glider to secure the way for 4,000 ships and landing craft to deliver over 132,500 Allied troops to five beaches. Around 10,500 Allied troops were killed, wounded or reported missing that day.

Page last reviewed: 30 May 2024


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