With less than 80 days to go until the 80th anniversary of D-Day, the Royal British Legion is calling on the public to commemorate the Normandy campaign; a major turning point in the Second World War that led to the eventual liberation of Western Europe.

Activities will take place across the nation and in Northern France, and the RBL is inviting the public to take part, especially by marking the occasion in their own communities. The RBL will be hosting a national service of Remembrance at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire at 2pm on 6 June 2024 to commemorate the service and sacrifice of all those involved in the iconic D-Day operations.

The Arboretum will be open to the public as normal and visitors will be able to watch the service in the Arboretum grounds, with seating available on a first come first served basis.

Alongside the service, the RBL will be welcoming D-Day and Normandy Campaign veterans and their families in a dedicated hosted event area. Entry into this area should be booked in advance and will be subject to availability.

The service at the National Memorial Arboretum is part of a wider RBL programme to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day with events in the UK and Normandy on 5 and 6 June. The charity is encouraging everyone to find out about people from their own communities who were involved in the Normandy campaign, or other landmark battles in 1944, in order to stage their own events, and to recognise the service and sacrifice of this unique generation in communities around the country.

Royal British Legion Director of Remembrance Philippa Rawlinson said: “The legacy left by the Second World War generation lives on in the freedom and democracy we have today. It is vital we continue to honour their service and sacrifice, so with 80 days to go until the 80th anniversary of D-Day we are urging people to register for our event and commemorate within their own communities.

“We want to remember the diversity of the contribution across the Allies and the Commonwealth, who served together in the Allied Forces and made the liberation of Europe possible. It’s also an opportunity to remind our Second War World generation of veterans that the RBL’s support extends beyond commemorative periods. Some of them may have not needed to call on the RBL for help before, but we will always be here to offer ongoing support, whenever it’s needed.”

Tom Hill, 98, a former Royal Marine from Birmingham who crewed a landing craft attached to Empire Battleaxe on 6 June, 1944. Tom will attend the service at the National Memorial Arboretum. He said: “The sights we saw on D-Day were terrible, just awful – we saw ships being sunk and injured troops in the water, but we had to keep going. Shells were going over our heads, troops were being shot and we were in the crossfire.

“I will be very proud to be able to remember our fallen comrades of the Normandy campaign especially in the beautiful and poignant setting of the National Memorial Arboretum on such a huge anniversary.”

The RBL has produced an exhibition called Legacies of D-Day to honour the service and sacrifice of the D-Day generation which opens to all visitors at the National Memorial Arboretum on 6 June.

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