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- On June 6, 1944 tens of thousands of Allied troops crossed the Channel in a bid to liberate mainland Europe and deliver a final crushing blow to the Nazis.
- The mission, codenamed Operation Overlord, took meticulous planning, cunning deception, unnerring discipline and unquestioning bravery.
- Many of those who took part in the D-Day landings never returned.
- Today we bring you the events as they would have happened on June 6, 1944 and commemorate the brave veterans and the fallen heroes of D-Day.
That's all from our D-Day memorial blog.
We'll leave you with a few lines from the Ode of Remembrance:
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
Juno. Sword. Gold. Utah. Omaha. #lestweforget #dday— @JodyLongworth 06 June 2014
The Duchess of Cambridge was given a cheeky kiss at a veterans' tea party by an 88-year-old former desert rat.
When Catherine sat down to talk to Arthur Jones in Arromanches, he asked her: ''Is it OK to kiss a Princess?''
Laughing, she replied: ''Of course it is.''
Mr Jones, a desert rat from the 7th Armoured Division, seized the moment and gave Catherine a kiss on the cheek.
Afterwards, Mr Jones, from Wolverhampton, said: ''As the prince (William) left he said to me 'Were you chatting up my wife?'
''I told him I only gave her a kiss.
''William laughed but I'm chuffed I've chatted up a princess. I bet I'll be picked up now and taken to the Tower of London.
''It was a lovely kiss - she is very sweet and very lovely. I lost my wife 10 years ago, and I'm on my own now, so I don't get many opportunities for kisses any more.
''I always thought Kate looked beautiful, but she has a very down to earth personality - it was like she was one of us.''
Catherine, dressed in a military-style Alexander McQueen coat and black hat, split up with William to talk to a table each.
Grenadier Guard Eric Presland, 94, from Welwyn Garden City asked her about 10-month-old baby George.
Mr Presland, who fought at Dunkirk, said: ''I asked Kate how was the little 'un and she said if he were there, he would be making short work of the plate of cakes.
''She said he was into everything, and really starting to walk.
''Just before D Day I met Princess Elizabeth, as was, at Brighton when she came to inspect us.
''Now I get to meet another princess - fantastic.''
Read a story here about D-Day services today on Portland and in Dorchester, and the memories of Normandy veteran Denis Over.
D-Day landing sites then and now: http://t.co/RzPk8E8lDZ— @PrisonPrism 06 June 2014
Video from our photographer John Gurd of the D-Day service on Portland earlier today
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge saluted the courage and sacrifice of Normandy veterans as events marking the 70th anniversary of D-Day reached a climax.
The royal couple attended a rousing commemoration near Gold Beach in Arromanches, where British troops scrambled ashore on that momentous day.
In a poignant address, William told the ex-servicemen: ''As nations - British, French and others - there can be no stronger tie than recollection of what the people of Normandy and thousands of young Allied soldiers, sailors and airmen endured together 70 years ago, this day.''
Hundreds of people - old soldiers, their families, serving servicemen and women - looked on as William said the sacrifices should never be forgotten.
He said: ''It is vital that the sacrifice - and the reasons for that sacrifice - are never forgotten by our generation and generations to come.''
Some 156,000 Allied troops landed on the five invasion beaches on June 6, 1944, in an operation which the then-prime minister Winston Churchill described as: ''Undoubtedly the most complicated and difficult that has ever taken place.''
It marked the beginning of an 80-day campaign to liberate Normandy which involved three million troops and cost the lives of 250,000 people. (Press Association)
How the Times Covered D-Day in the Paper of June 6, 1944 http://t.co/myjI0gabCv— @Patrick_Bruen 06 June 2014
Another PA pic from France. The Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, Queen Elizabeth II and French Prime Minister Manuel Valls watch a flypast during a visit to Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery at Bayeux.
Modern day soldiers stand by union flags planted by the British Legion at Gold Beach, Asnelles, Normandy, France as part of the celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day campaign. PA pic.
Video from our photographer Graham Hunt of D-Day service at The Keep in Dorchester
11 Stunning Images That Show D-Day Landing Sites Then and Now http://t.co/MDBwXOurcX— @CapnDred 06 June 2014
Watching D-Day commemorations How much we owe these brave men and women #DDay70— @Philhutchings 06 June 2014
Fireworks are launched to mark the moment that Pegasus Bridge was captured by British troops on 6th June 1944 which signalled the beginning of D-Day. PA photo
Here is another video: Air Force Story, D-Day June 6, 1944 US Department of Defense
RT @mattdpearce: LA Times' coverage of D-Day. Why don't we do maps like this anymore? http://t.co/kc5ErY0m0H http://t.co/QgfAfEghUm— @swsandell 06 June 2014
Gen Montgomery helped mastermind #DDay His diary read: ‘Invaded Normandy; left Portsmouth 10.30’ http://t.co/qBjMU6jgZX— @MajorPaulSmyth 06 June 2014
RT @AnneFrankTrust: Oh Kitty, the best part of the invasion is that I have the feeling that friends are on the way. Anne Frank, 6 June 1944— @alicesroses 06 June 2014
RT @Jon_Gwinnett: LEGEND! Here he is: Bernard Jordan, 89, who snuck away from care home to attend Normandy #DDay http://t.co/eBS2xDPGZy htt…— @terrimore1 06 June 2014
This is Denis Over, 92, who lives in Broadmayne. Aged 22, he landed on Juno Beach as part of the D-Day landings. Read his story here
RT @BritishRedCross: As well as medical aid, the Red Cross provided back rests, newspapers, cards and even grease-proof paper! #DDay http:/…— @RedCrossWales 06 June 2014
“Never was so much owed by so many to so few.” - Winston Churchill #DDay— @rivenman 06 June 2014
RT @CMPG: #DDay70 http://t.co/YbxUWmwnFa— @DorsetTraffic 06 June 2014
4pm, June 6 1944-The British arrive at Arromanches
This photo shows the Hampshire Regiment in a field overlooking Arromanches
"There is a profound difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest." RReagan 6/6/84 Normandy #DDAY70— @mjgranger1 06 June 2014
RT @BtonHovePolice: 90 year old veteran reported missing from care home. Turns out they'd said no to him going to #DDay70 but he went anywa…— @justice4forces 06 June 2014
AN 89-YEAR-OLD veteran reported missing from a nursing home has been found in France marking the anniversary of the D-Day landings.
The pensioner, who left wearing his war medals, has contacted the home and said his friends are going to make sure he gets back safely when the commemorations end.
According to police, he was told he couldn't go to the commemoration- so sneaked off anyway.
Sussex Police were called at 7.15pm yesterday by staff at a nursing home in Hove who said the man had gone out at 10.30am and had not been seen since.
Officers began searching the area, including checking hospitals in case something had happened to him, and spoke to bus and taxi companies.
But the nursing home received a phone call from a younger veteran from Brighton at 10.30pm last night who said he had met the pensioner on a coach on the way to France and that they were safe and well in a hotel in Ouistreham.
This map from the US National Archives showsThis map from the US National Archives showed Allied troops the dangers and obstacles on Omaha and Utah beaches. Via @TodaysDocument
Union flags planted in the sand by the British Legion, Gold Beach, Asnelles, Normandy, France
RT @charlescwcooke: 93-year old Robert Blatnik returns to Omaha Beach. http://t.co/zJi7Wy4y3T— @patsyseverson 06 June 2014
RT @Normandy_1944: D-Day: 21st Panzer division led by General Edgar Feuchtinger unsuccesfully attack south of Juno Beach. http://t.co/oxhxZ…— @comteodalric 06 June 2014
2.30pm The 21st Panzer Division unleash a counter-attack towards the coast— @Dorsetecho 06 June 2014
Queen Elizabeth II lays a wreath at the foot of the Cross of Sacrifice in the centre of Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery, Bayeux, during a service of remembrance, Normandy, France. Photo PA
The planning which went into the D-Day landings may have been meticulous but there was one thing troops could not rely on - the weather.
The fate of thousands of Allied soldiers due to land in France as part of Operation Overlord lay with the weather and a team of weathermen to tell them the right time to put the plan into action.
Scottish meteorologist Group Captain James Stagg was the man who had to advise General Eisenhower of the small window they had on certain days in which the operation could be carried out.
He was also the man who persuaded him to delay the launch to allow for better weather.
Stagg had been appointed chief meteorological adviser to Eisenhower and headed a committee of meteorologists who forecast weather conditions in the English Channel in the run up to D-Day.
But low-lying cloud, rain, high winds and stormy seas hit at the beginning of June and the weather was still so bad on the morning of June 4 that the invasion was postponed by one day - from June 5 to June 6 - a decision which ultimately saved the lives of thousands of soldiers.
Stagg was knighted in 1954 and served as director of services at the Meteorological Office until 1960.
Prime Minister David Cameron meets veteran Steve Garrard at Bayeux Cemetery after they attended a commemorative service to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings. Photo: PA
Thankfully, the American 4th Infantry Division which landed at Utah Beach did not face the murderous conditions endured by their comrades at Omaha. But some of this was down to luck, as the first wave of landings was 2,000 yards south of the planned beach and at a point where resistance was much lighter than at the planned site.
Realising their good fortune, the Americans ensured that later assault waves also landed in this lessdefended area - and within hours the bridgehead was secured. By the end of June 6, a total of 23,250 men, 17,000 vehicles and 1,695 tons of supplies had been landed.
Normandy veterans take part in a service of remembrance at Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery, Bayeux, Normandy, France.
Normandy veteran Gordon Drabble, 89, from Sheffield, recently awarded the Legion D'Honeur, plants a wooden cross at the grave of a fallen comrade in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery, Bayeux, Normandy, France.
RT @britishroyals: Most powerful picture! World leaders, including the Queen & Obama, in France for the 70th anniv of D-Day #DDay70 http://…— @Eric_Chauvelot 06 June 2014
RT @WWIIpix: Equipment, mostly Sherman tanks, lined up at a airfield in preparation for Operation Overlord. England, 1944. #DDay70 http://t…— @DictionaryDick_ 06 June 2014
RT @CanWarMuseum: #DDay70 Some 14,000 Canadians were among the nearly 150,000 Allied troops who landed/parachuted along the invasion area— @StephenClarkeNZ 06 June 2014
RT @HelpforHeroes: Today we remember the bravery of our troops 70 years ago and pay respect to our veterans https://t.co/3s4MRE0fdB #DDay70…— @Renalrita 06 June 2014
RT @AFPphoto: Barack Obama and Francois Hollande look out over Omaha Beach during the D-Day Ceremony by @saulloeb #AFP http://t.co/jw4DtUxi…— @XtineGuillouet 06 June 2014
RT @BritishArmy: #Veteran Jock Hutton, 89, speaks to Prince Charles following his jump over Normandy http://t.co/IOKFssp6Qu #DDay70 http://…— @soneil16 06 June 2014
RT @bbcweather: Here's what the #DDay forecast might have looked like if they had our graphics 70 years ago. Jake C http://t.co/F2SFgMTCUf— @Frasern1 06 June 2014
The Duke of Edinburgh, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, Queen Elizabeth II and The Prince of Wales attend the Service of Remembrance at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery, Bayeux, to mark 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
D-Day Remembered. Silver Sea Gallantry Medal for a rescue of a landing craft used in #DDay70 http://t.co/yVypO9Dkza http://t.co/TWcnis9vTd— @MCA_media 06 June 2014
Noon (12pm) Winston Churchill speaks to the House of Commons about the landings— @Dorsetecho 06 June 2014
The words ''doom'', ''debarkation'' and ''deliverance'' have all been suggested as meanings for the ''D'' in D-Day.
But the letter is derived from the word ''Day'' and means the day on which a military operation begins.
D-Day has been used for many different operations but is most closely associated with the Allied landings on Normandy's beaches on June 6 1944.
The day before D-Day was D-1 and the day after was D+1.
It meant that if the date for an operation changed, military planners would not have to change all the dates in their plan.
Such a thing happened for the Normandy landings D-Day, which was originally planned for June 5 1944 - but bad weather delayed it by a day.
A recent generation has come to realise something of what it must have been like to be part of the forces landing on Omaha beach through the dramatic Steven Spielberg film, Saving Private Ryan.
The first wave of landings by the 1st and 29th American Infantry Divisions was at 6.30am. They ran into fiercerthanexpected resistance from the Germans, whose heavy guns had survived the earlier Allied bombing attacks by being withdrawn and sited further to the rear.
Some doubted whether Omaha should have been chosen, as it was so difficult to assault with its 170ft-high cliffs and difficult terrain. Also, the Allies did not realise that the Germans had crack troops from the 352nd Infantry Division at Omaha.
Well dug in, the Germans poured down murderous fire on the landing Americans, and progress was so hindered that US First Army Commander General Omar Bradley considered pulling off the beach and landing troops elsewhere.
At one point, Colonel George A Taylor, who led his troops against a German machinegun emplacement, said: dTwo kinds of people are staying on this beach - the dead and those who are about to die."
Showing great bravery and supported by Allied naval gunfire, the Americans rallied, gained the heights and drove the Germans inland. By the end of the day, 34,500 men had been landed and a small bridgehead 12km in depth and 7km wide had been created.
But more than 2,000 Americans were killed or wounded and, of the 2,400 tons of supplies which should have been landed, only 100 tons arrived safely. Almost all the artillery, most of the tanks and other means of transport had been engulfed by the sea.
US president Barack Obama paid tribute to his country's sacrifices at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, where nearly 10,000 servicemen are buried.
Mr Obama said the American commitment to liberty, which is ''written in blood'' on the beaches of Normandy, endures with a new generation.
And he told D-Day veterans gathered above Omaha beach that their legacy is in good hands.
This was at the centre of the landing zones halfway between the Cotentin peninsula and the River Orne and near Asnelles.
The British 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division were faced with steep cliffs and strong German resistance.
But they fought through and by evening had established a 10km by 10km bridgehead which reached the inland town of Bayeux. The British were able to rendezvous with the Canadians to the east but did not reach their DDay objective of linking with the Americans in the west.
On D-Day, 24,970 men were landed on Gold, with 89 barges or other craft lost. On the beach alone, 413 men were either killed, wounded or missing.
Photo shows schoolchildren at Gold Beach during a previous D-Day commemoration
At 7.30am on DDay, the 3rd British Infantry Division landed on Sword Beach, where resistance had been largely neutralised by the Allies" heavy prelanding bombardment.
The British were to advance inland as far as the town of Caen and line up with the British airborne forces east of the Orne River/Caen Canal. The 3rd Division established a bridgehead and almost reached Caen, but the town was not to fall until July 9.
Before midnight on June 6, a total of 28,845 men had been landed at Sword. Losses on the beach alone were about 630 dead or wounded.
Photo shows Ouistreham- or Sword Beach- as it is today
At 8am on DDay, the first men of the 50th Canadian Infantry Division landed on Juno between GraysurMer and BernieressurMer. Heavy seas hampered the landings but the Canadians were able to forge a 1012kmlong bridgehead and were also able to liaise with the British 50th Division, although not with the British 3rd Division.
However, despite making the deepest penetration of any land forces on June 6, the Canadians eventually had to withdraw from their position 5km from Caen. A total of 21,400 men were landed on the beach on DDay as well as 3,200 vehicles and 1,100 tons of supplies. Casualties included 304 dead, 574 wounded and 47 taken prisoner.
Photo shows a veteran walking on the sands of Juno Beach
World War II veterans of the U.S. 29th Infantry Division, Hal Baumgarter, right, 90, Pa., and Steve Melnikoff, 94, R.I., salute during a D-Day commemoration, on Omaha Beach in Vierville sur Mer, western France.
People stand on Omaha Beach in Vierville sur Mer, western France. Veterans and Normandy residents are paying tribute to the thousands who gave their lives in the D-Day invasion of Nazi-occupied France 70 years ago.
'WE SHALL FIGHT THEM ON THE BEACHES'- WINSTON CHURCHILL
“I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone.
At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do. That is the resolve of His Majesty’s Government-every man of them. That is the will of Parliament and the nation.
The British Empire and the French Republic, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death their native soil, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength.
Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail.
We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France,
we shall fight on the seas and oceans,
we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be,
we shall fight on the beaches,
we shall fight on the landing grounds,
we shall fight in the fields and in the streets,
we shall fight in the hills;
we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.”
RT @thehistoryguy: Lucky shot: #DDay70 http://t.co/FXgkV2pcP7— @Anth_Hartley 06 June 2014
Normandy veterans arrive Bayeux Cathedral to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings during World War II.
EUROPE REMEMBERS: At Sword, Brigadier David Baines, the national president of the Normandy Veterans' Association, read the lesson - Ecclesiasticus Chapter 44 1 - 14.
It included the lines: ''Their bodies are buried in peace; but their name liveth evermore. The people will tell of their wisdom, and the congregation will shew forth their praise.''
The choir of St John's College Cambridge, directed by Andrew Nethsingha, sung Psalm 121, followed by an address by the Right Reverend Nigel McCulloch, the national chaplain of the RBL.
He told the congregation: ''We come to remember those who from the air, in the water and on the beaches made the supreme sacrifice.''
This photo shows soldiers boarding for the D-Day landings
David Cameron said he felt a mixture of ''awe and gratitude'' as he met veterans of the D-Day landings at the 70th anniversary commemorations.
The Prime Minister said it was ''incredibly moving'' to be at the events in Normandy and it was ''humbling'' for people of his generation who had not had to do anything like the heroic actions of June 6 1944.
The ceremony is marks high point of the anniversary events, which has seen thousands flock to beaches, cemeteries and villages linked to the momentous landings.
The day's commemorations began at midnight with a vigil at the Pegasus Bridge, marking the first assault of the D-Day invasion when Allied soldiers landed in the dead of night exactly 70 years ago.
At 12.16am a team of six Horsa gliders carrying 181 men from the Glider Pilot Regiment and the 2nd Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, landed silently to capture the strategically-vital bridge and another nearby, paving the way for soldiers landing on the Normandy beaches to move inland and reinforce their airborne colleagues.
World leaders are gathering in Normandy today for an emotional ceremony expected to be the pinnacle of events marking the 70th anniversary of D-Day.
Up to 19 heads of state, including the Queen and US president Barack Obama, are on Sword Beach near Ouistreham, one of the five battle zones on Normandy's coastline on June 6, 1944.
RT @metoffice: The original hand-drawn weather chart from #DDay70, perhaps the most important forecast in our history http://t.co/bJr6fsZMo8— @Derrick_Snyder 06 June 2014
Roy Child from Preston, Weymouth, was a midshipman aboard a landing craft which brought tanks to 'bloody' Omaha Beach. Although designated as an 'American beach' some British troops were re-directed there after the tragedy that occured during Operation Tiger at Slapton Sands in Devon when almost 1,000 US troops died after a rehearsal went wrong.
- D-Day was originally scheduled for June 4/5 but postponed until June 6 because of stormy weather.
- 156,000 troops took part in the initial June 6 landings, of whom 10,000 were to become casualties.
- Over the next two months more than 1.5 million men and 1.6 million tons of supplies were landed.
- The Allies suffered 210,000 casualties, including almost 37,000 dead. The German dead totalled 65,000.
Women of Weymouth have been sharing their memories of D-Day. Read their stories here
This photo shows Sylvia Baker, third from right,who was an army telephonist on Portland on D-Day
Wren Jean Rawson's role helped save lives. Read her story here
9am General Eisenhower authorises release of communiqué announcing the invasion has begun. General Bradley calls for reinforcements
Landing craft and ships in Weymouth harbour
A total of 21,400 men were landed on the beach on DDay as well as 3,200 vehicles and 1,100 tons of supplies.
Bob Collins from Bridport landed on Juno Beach. This is his story http://t.co/MXEIOLF0fO— @Dorsetecho 06 June 2014
Heavy seas hamper the landings but the Canadians are able to forge a 1012kmlong bridgehead and liaise with the British 50th Division— @Dorsetecho 06 June 2014
RT @poppypride1: How many retweets can we get for our #dday veterans? http://t.co/smkDgFt06t— @dantownsend09 06 June 2014
8am The first men of the 50th Canadian Infantry Division land on Juno between GraysurMer and BernieressurMer— @Dorsetecho 06 June 2014
1/Dorsetshire: ‘A’ and ‘B’ Coys touched down on beach. ‘B’ Coy suffered considerable casualties from shell and M.G fire on beach— @ukwarcabinet 06 June 2014
Second man off the first Canadian landing craft in Juno is 21-year-old Corporal Bob Roberts http://t.co/hTrJATc12F— @Dorsetecho 06 June 2014
The 3rd Division established a bridgehead and almost reached Caen, but the town was not to fall until July 9.— @Dorsetecho 06 June 2014
Today marks the 70th anniversary of D-Day.
On June 6, 1944 tens of thousands of Allied troops crossed the Channel in a bid to liberate mainland Europe and deliver a final crushing blow to the Nazis.
The mission, codenamed Operation Overlord, took meticulous planning, cunning deception, unnerring discipline and unquestioning bravery.
Many of those who took part in the D-Day landings never returned.
Today we bring you the events as they would have happened on June 6, 1944 and commemorate the brave veterans and the fallen heroes of D-Day.
JUNE 6, 1944
12.05am Coastal batteries between Le Harve and Cherbourg are bombed
12.15am: Pathfinders are dropped to mark out US drop zones on the right bank of the Orne.
12.20am British airborne troops begin attacking Pegasus and other bridges over the River Orne
12.35am: British parachutists capture Pegasus Bridge in Benouville.
12.50am: 400 RAF aircraft drop 2,000 paratroopers from Pegasus Division.
1.30am: First paratroopers of US 101st Airborne dropped behind Utah Beach.
2.30am Combined bombardment and assault fleets arrive and anchor
2.30am: Ranville is liberated
3am: Aerial bombardment of German defence and artillery sites begins. US troops start embarking in landing crafts for Omaha and Utah beaches
5am Britain’s 9th Battalion, the Parachute Regiment, helps destroy weapons at the Merville Battery, protecting troops who will land at Sword Beach
5.30am Allied warships begin bombarding the Normandy coastline
5.50am: Warships begin bombardment of German defences
6am Bombers pound the German shore defences. More than 5,300 tonnes of bombs are dropped
6.30am American troops begin landing on Omaha Beach to face a devastating onslaught
Well dug in, the Germans poured down murderous fire on the landing Americans, and progress was so hindered that US First Army Commander General Omar Bradley considered pulling off the beach and landing troops elsewhere.
At one point, Colonel George A Taylor, who led his troops against a German machinegun emplacement, said: “Two kinds of people are staying on this beach - the dead and those who are about to die."
6.30am Americans begin landing at Utah Beach
7.10am: US Rangers land at La Pointe du Hoc.
7.25am British land at Gold and Sword beaches
7.30am: British and Canadian forces land on Gold, Juno and Sword sectors.