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Weymouth to turn back clock for D-Day 70th anniversary
WEYMOUTH will turn back the clock next year to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-day.
The event, called ‘Weymouth at War’ will be held throughout Weymouth on the weekend of June 21 and 22 in 2014, alongside the annual Veterans parade.
'D-Day' refers to the Normandy landings of the Allied invasion of Normandy during World War II which took place on June 6, 1944.
Dave Allan, events coordinator for Pike and Shot Events and chairman of the Weymouth Heritage Centre, said: "We have the full support of the council who are delighted that we can add more to the annual Veterans Day commemorations.
“There are dozens of re-enactment groups already booked in and following the sad demise of the Maiden Newton at War show, we thought something should be done on a larger scale for the 70th anniversary of D-day.
“So many of the World War II units left from the quayside here and we have plans to make the town look very much as it did at the time.
“There will be lots for visitors to see including wartime searchlights, school children taking part as wartime refugees, anti-aircraft guns around the town, wardens and wartime policemen checking papers, and even a recreation of a WWII hospital as it was in a church crypt.
"We have had nothing but support from everyone we speak to.”
‘Weymouth at War’ will also include a re-enactment of the beach battle on the afternoon of June 21, which will be free for all to watch from the Esplanade.
It is believed many local shops and businesses will be taking part by offering wartime discounts.
WWII Ranger veteran James Gabaree left from Weymouth quayside near the Pavilion back in 1944 for the D-day assault on Omaha Beach.
He said: "We all loved our time in England in 1944 and were given such a warm welcome.
“It makes all the surviving Rangers proud to think that our time spent in Weymouth has not been forgotten. We wish this event well and hope it is a great success.
"I would love to come over again if I can; I have such fond memories of Britain at that time and would love to be involved.”
The annual Veterans Day parade is traditionally one of the busiest weekends of the year for the town and it is believed there will be a huge influx of extra visitors for Weymouth at War.
To get involved or for more information call 01305 858411 or 07557 301155.
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