Wakefield to host service of commemoration on 80th anniversary of D-Day

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A service of commemoration to mark the 80th anniversary of the Normandy landings will be held in Wakefield.

The service, on Thursday, June 6, will commence at 8pm at Wakefield Cathedral and will be led by the Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Reverend Tony Robinson.

A service to mark Armed Forces Day will follow on June 29 at Pontefract Park.

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Coun Josie Pritchard, Wakefield Council’s armed forces champion, said: “This 80th anniversary of D-Day will be the most poignant yet.

British soldiers of the RAMC (Royal Army Medical Corps) during the Normandy Landings, June 1944.British soldiers of the RAMC (Royal Army Medical Corps) during the Normandy Landings, June 1944.
British soldiers of the RAMC (Royal Army Medical Corps) during the Normandy Landings, June 1944.

"There will be major events right across the country, celebrating the heroic sacrifice made by so many in June 1944.

“Our veterans and their families deserve the ongoing gratitude of everyone in our country.

Please join us on June 6 to commemorate what they did to protect our way of life during the landings in Normandy.

"Everyone is welcome, no ticket required.”

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The date marks the 80th anniversary of D-Day, when Allied forces mounted the largest seaborne invasion the world has ever witnessed.

In 1944 Operation Overlord saw over 5,000 ships and landing craft set down more than 130,000 troops on five Normandy beaches in an action that marked the beginning of the liberation of France and western Europe.

In a statement, the council said: “The soldiers who landed on the Normandy beaches represented a beacon of light for the world during this dark period.

“This heroism and sacrifice which secured the peace and freedom enjoyed today will be observed on June 6 by the lighting of beacons across the world.”

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The International 80th Anniversary Beacon will be lit at 8.15pm alongside the British Normandy Memorial, overlooking Gold Beach, and will represent the other four Beaches - Utah, Omaha, Juno and Sword, followed by the Principal United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man beacon on His Majesty’s Naval Base, Portsmouth at 9.15pm.

Villages, towns and cities have been asked to light beacons simultaneously at 9.15pm to remember the 80th anniversary.

The Wakefield beacon will be positioned outside the Cathedral’s West door, and will be lit by the Mayor, Coun Darren Byford, at 9.15pm, following the service.

On Saturday, June 29 from 10am to 4.30pm a full day of free fun and activities will be hosted at Pontefract Park.

Wakefield Armed Forces Day celebrates the contribution that our Armed Forces make to the country.

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