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D-Day 80

80th Anniversary of D-DayAshford Remembers Logo

Thursday 6 June 2024 marks the 80th anniversary of D-Day, when Allied forces mounted the largest amphibious invasion the world has ever witnessed.  Codenamed Operation Overlord, the events on 6 June 1944 saw around 4,000 ships and landing craft set down about 132,500 troops on five Normandy beaches in an action that would bring about the liberation of north-west Europe from Nazi occupation.

D-Day 80 in Ashford

  • Thursday 6 June – D-Day 80 Flag Raising Ceremony at 9am at the Civic Centre. 
  • Thursday 6 June – D-Day 80 Commemorative Ceremony at 11am in Memorial Gardens which will also mark the installation of the Floral Spitfire back into the gardens.
  • Thursday 6 June – D-Day 80 Beacon Lighting and the reading of the International Tribute at 9.15pm in Civic Park.

For the full list of D-Day events in the Ashford Borough visit our D-Day events webpage.

National Programme

The UK will commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Normandy Landings on 6 June 2024 with a series of major commemorations and events across the UK and in France.

D-Day 80 Flag of Peace – 9am

The day of commemoration across the Nation will D-Day 80 Flag of Peacecommence with the raising of the Official D-Day 80 ‘Flag of Peace’.  From Government, Civic Authorities, Municipal, Borough, City, Town and Parish Councils, Local Communities, Schools, Churches, and Businesses - anyone and everyone is encouraged to fly the official D-Day 80 ‘Flag of Peace’.  For more information and to purchase the D-Day 80 Flag of Peace go to Newton Newton Flags Ltd.

Poem for Schools D-Day Heroes – 11am

It is suggested that schools come together at 11am for the reading of a special D-Day Heroes Poem.  The Poem has been specially written by Roy Palmer, Chelsea Pensioner and Herald at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea. You can find the Poem for Schools D-Day Heroes on page 18 of the guide to taking part.

Ringing Out for Peace – 6.30pm

The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers is calling on fellow bell ringers all over the world to ring out for peace on at 6.30pm local time.  For more information go to the bell ringers webpage

Lighting of Beacons – 9.15pm (UK time)

The International 80th Anniversary D-Day Beacon will be lit in Normandy at 8.15pm BST (British Summer Time) at the British Normandy Memorial overlooking Gold Beach, with the other Beacons located on Utah, Omaha, Juno and Sword beaches being lit at 8.30pm BST, followed by the Principal United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man Beacon in Portsmouth at 9.15pm BST.

The lighting of the International 80th Anniversary Beacon on His Majesty’s Naval Base, in Portsmouth, Hampshire will represent those that sacrificed so much during the landing on the five Beaches in Normandy, as well as the many thousands that supported them in the air, on land and at sea.  It will coincide with the simultaneous lighting of beacons around all four corners of the United Kingdom, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Commonwealth and will mark the ‘light of peace’ that emerged out of the darkness of war.

This is the opportunity to remember over 209,000 Allied casualties of Operation Overlord. This includes nearly 37,000 ground forces and 16,714 air forces killed in the invasion of Normandy’s Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword beaches, and the long and bloody campaign that followed.

You can find out more about the lighting of beacons by going to D-Day 80 Beacons and other national events by visiting the Royal British Legion D-Day 80 Remembrance web page.

National Guidance and How to Take Part in D Day Activities

If you are organising an event to mark D-Day 80, then download the guide to taking part.

Organising an event in the Ashford Borough?

Please let us know if your village, parish or community will be lighting a beacon so that it can be added to a borough–wide map of D-Day 80 events and activities.  Complete D-Day 80 public event form.

The D-Day 80 Lamp Light of Peace

Organisations such as care homes, hospitals, pubs and restaurants that wish to pay their tribute, but don’t have the land or space to light a beacon are being encouraged to light the D Day 80 Lamp Light of Peace

The light from the flame will represent the ‘light of peace’ that emerged from the darkness of war, with the lamp providing a simple and safe way of taking part in this important 80th anniversary occasion, and once used, can be lit again at 11am on every Remembrance Sunday thereafter, in tribute to the many millions that sacrificed their lives during WWII.

For more information about the D-Day 80 Lamp Light of Peace go to the Lamp Light of Peace webpage.

Fish and Chips

Country Women Countrywide was asked to design a menu to accompany the national lighting of beacons – and to relate the suggestion to the memory of Company Sergeant Major Stanley Hollis VC, the only serviceman to receive the Victoria Cross for his heroic actions on 6 June 1944.

Prior to joining the army, Stanley had assisted his father in the family’s fish and chip shop in Robin Hood’s Bay, Yorkshire.  Additionally, ‘FISH’ and ‘CHIPS’ had played a role in ensuring the safety of our troops abroad. When a soldier was aware of others in the vicinity but unaware of whether they were friend or foe he called out ‘FISH’. If the response was ‘CHIPS’ he could be pretty certain that this unseen person was a ‘friend’.  Furthermore, during both the World Wars fish and chips was considered key to maintaining the morale of the nation that, unlike meat, cheese, eggs and other sources of protein, fish was never rationed.  And so, fish and chips will link the beacon lightings across the land.

Fish and chip outlets are therefore encouraged to get involved.  It is hoped that 156,000 portions of fish and chips (and mushy peas) will be sold across the country that day – the same number of allied troops that landed in Normandy on D-Day. For each portion sold, we are asked that £1.00 be equally divided between the four charities involved - The Royal Naval Association, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund and The Merchant Navy Association.

For more information visit nationalfishandchipday.org.uk.

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