THIS week Britain pays tribute to the D-Day heroes who landed in Normandy 75 years ago to liberate Europe.
The Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William, along with US President Donald Trump, French leader Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel will attend events in Britain and France.
Commemorations on the South Coast and in Normandy mark the invasion of June 6, 1944, in which nearly 4,500 Allied servicemen were killed on the first day alone.
Here we bring you all the D-Day commemorations — and how you can watch the moving ceremonies.
While heads of state and celebrities will attend these events, the real stars are the veterans — now in their nineties — who stared death in the face and saw many of their comrades fall to end Hitler’s tyranny. On Sunday, MV Boudicca, a ship chartered by the Royal British Legion, left Dover to take more than 250 Normandy veterans to events in Poole in Dorset today and in Portsmouth tomorrow.
The veterans will be guests of honour at the huge National Commemorative Event on Southsea Common, Portsmouth, tomorrow.
On D-Day I watched from the deck as 500 planes and gliders filled the sky and dropped paratroopers into Normandy
Later that evening they will leave to follow the route across the English Channel they took in choppy waters in 1944 as part of the biggest sea invasion in history.
In the middle of the Channel, at around 8pm, a fleet of Royal Navy ships will sail past MV Boudicca while the RAF fly overhead.
Among the 255 veterans on board will be John Roberts, 95, from Whitstable, Kent. During D-Day he was a sub lieutenant on HMS Serapis, but later rose to become Rear Admiral of the Fleet.
He said: “On D-Day I watched from the deck as 500 planes and gliders filled the sky and dropped paratroopers into Normandy.
It will be nostalgic and sure to bring back lots of memories. Rest assured we will never forget all you did for us.”
“I was a young sailor and had never seen anything like it in my life. It is important we never forget the sacrifices those young men made.”
On Thursday the veterans will meet Prince Charles and Camilla after a remembrance service at the war cemetery at Bayeux, where the bodies of 1,800 British and Commonwealth servicemen lie.
Forces sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn, 102, sent a specially recorded message which was played to the veterans. She said: “It will be nostalgic and sure to bring back lots of memories. Rest assured we will never forget all you did for us.”
Events in England
10am-onwards, Duxford Airfield, Cambs: Number of aircraft on display. Take-off for the Dakota Formation Flight at 10.30am. The Dakota Formation Demo will be followed by a parachute jump freefall team, involving 11 aircraft and roughly 220 paratroopers from around the world.
Noon-2pm, Poole, Dorset: The Royal British Legion ship MV Boudicca carrying D-Day veterans to Normandy will be in the harbour while Royal Marines demonstrate modern landing craft and assault weapons.
8am, Portsmouth Port: Royal British Legion MV Boudicca ship arrives.
11am, Southsea Common, Ports-mouth: National Commemorative Event attended by the Queen, Prince Charles, President Trump, President Macron and Chancellor Merkel.
The programme will include actor David Haig as Churchill plus Sheridan Smith performing music from the time. Actress Celia Imrie and Broadchurch’s Jonathan Bailey will also star. The Queen will thank the veterans on behalf of the 15 Allied nations.
1pm, Southsea Common, Ports-mouth: Flypast of 25 current and historic aircraft, including the Red Arrows, two Typhoons, a Spitfire and a Hurricane.
1.40pm-2.05pm: Formation Flight of Dakotas assembled from all over the globe will take off from Duxford airfield and head over Essex towards Eastbourne. They are expected to fly over Colchester at 2.21pm and reach Southend at 2.29pm.
They will then fly past Maidstone in Kent at 2.37pm, reaching Eastbourne at 2.50pm.
The aircraft will then continue to Le Havre in France and to the historic UK Drop Zone at Sannerville, Normandy.
4pm, Southsea Common Ports-mouth: Second Red Arrows display.
6.25pm, Portsmouth Port: Royal British Legion ship MV Boudicca to depart.
7pm-8pm: Royal Navy ships will sail past the veterans on board MV Boudicca, see below. This is not expected to be visible from land but will be broadcast on TV.
10.15am, The National Memorial Arboretum, Staffs: Prince William will attend a special D-Day Remembrance Service.
9.15am, Portsmouth Port: Royal British Legion ship returns.
9.15am-1pm, BBC1, D-Day 75: A Tribute To Heroes: Huw Edwards anchors coverage from the National Commemorative Event on Southsea Common, Portsmouth, attended by the Queen, Prince Charles and President Trump. Includes flypast.
7pm-8pm, BBC1, The One Show: Dan Snow is live from the MV Boudicca taking veterans to Normandy.
9.15am-1pm, BBC1, D-Day 75: Remembering The Fallen: Sophie Raworth presents coverage from the service at the war cemetry in Bayeux, attended by Prince Charles.
6pm-6.30pm, BBC2, D-Day 75: Return To The Beaches: 300 veterans prepare to return to the D-Day beaches in Normandy.
1.15pm-1.50pm, BBC1, Songs Of Praise Special: Aled Jones performs Abide With Me at the war cemetery in Bayeux
Events in France
9.30am (all times BST), Bayeux: Six veterans will unveil an audio bench – with recordings of survivors telling their stories – at the war cemetery, where many killed on D-Day are buried.
Among the veterans will be Roy Cadman, who landed on Sword Beach and fought on the front line in Normandy for 96 days.
3pm-4pm, Sannerville, Normandy: 280 UK and French paratroopers will drop close to Pegasus Bridge, a major British objective in the early stages of the invasion.
UK paratroopers from 16 Air Assault Brigade will jump from Hercules transport planes in World War Two- style uniforms. It will be followed by a civilian drop, which will include two veterans, using historic Dakota planes.
10.30pm-11.20pm, Pegasus Bridge: Vigil and silent march 75 years to the minute that the bridge was captured.
Includes troops from The Rifles and Army Air Corps, descendent regiments of those who fought at Pegasus Bridge.
5am, Le Havre: Royal British Legion ship arrives.
6.26am, Arromanches: Lone piper plays on Mulberry harbour to mark the exact moment the first British soldier landed on Gold Beach. Followed by flag-raising on the beach.
7.30am, Ver-sur-Mer: Unveiling of D-Day sculpture and inauguration of the British Normandy Memorial, which is still being built, attended by Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron.
9am-9.45am, Bayeux: Royal British Legion annual Service of Remem-brance at the cathedral, attended by Prince Charles, Camilla, Theresa May and 300 British Veterans. Veterans will then walk to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery.
11am-noon, Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery, Bayeux: Royal British Legion Service of Remembrance and laying of wreaths, attended by Prince Charles, Camilla and Theresa May.
Followed by international service at Conville-sur-Mer, where Theresa May, Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and other world leaders are expected
1pm, Arromanches: The D-Day 75 Garden from the Chelsea Flower Show will be officially unveiled at its new permanent site.
2.15pm: British veterans begin to arrive in the main square in Arromanches for local events. Music from the Central Band of the RAF.
3.25pm: Boat veterans arrive from Bayeux. Parachute display by Red Devils and flypast over the seas by Red Arrows and Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
5pm: Jim Radford, a 15-year-old cabin boy on a tugboat during D-Day, will sing his ballad The Shores of Normandy in the main square.
10.30pm: Firework finale and Central Band of the RAF leading veterans in singing We’ll Meet Again, White Cliffs Of Dover and Auld Lang Syne.
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