D-Day week in Southsea

By | Category: Travel news
Southsea Castle

Southsea Castle

Readers can hardly be unaware that many places this week will be remembering the 70th anniversary of D-Day.  Called Operation Overlord, on the 6th of June 1944, the allies stormed Normandy from bases in the UK. Key was Portsmouth and the surrounding area from which troops left in their tens of thousands.

Southsea Seafront, Portsmouth Dockyard and naval bases in Gosport played a vital role in preparing and supplying the D-Day fleet and were critical embarkation points. Southwick House, just north of the city, was the headquarters of the allied commander, General Eisenhower, during the operation.

Southsea is also home to the D-Day Museum, Britain’s only museum dedicated solely to covering all aspects of the D-Day landings in Normandy. Inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry which tells the story of William the Conqueror’s invasion in 1066, it is here that there is the 34 panel Overlord Embroidery which tells the story not just of that June day but of the four years leading up to it for almost as soon as troops left France and Belgium in 1940, planning began to return.

Starting today and lasting until the 8th of June, there will be a veterans’ centre on the Southsea seafront, where Normandy veterans will be able to meet each other and members of the modern armed forces. On 5th June a drumhead service and parade on Southsea Common will be held, following this there will be an amphibious landing on Southsea beach by the Royal Navy. In the evening there will be a Sunset Concert for Heroes aimed specifically at veterans and their families as guest of honour. On 6th June, there will be a remembrance of D-Day with a service at the D-Day Stone in Southsea led by the Royal British Legion. The weekend of 7th – 8th June will see military vehicles, re-enactors and other activities bringing the wartime period to life on the seafront

But at the weekend, Southsea Common will host a free, family D-Day Experience weekend on the 7th and 8th with entertainment and activities for all ages including live music from the 1940s, arena displays and parades, military vehicle exhibitions, lindy hop dancers, a 1940s vintage market, archive and war film screenings, talks by local veterans, home front displays, photographic exhibitions, street theatre performances.

For more about what is on in Portsmouth and Southsea, click here.

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