A service will be held to mark the 75th anniversary of a former Dorset airfield's role in the D-Day invasion

The commemoration to honour those who flew from, and served at, the Royal Air Force station at Tarrant Rushton will be held on Sunday, June 2 by the stone memorial at 'Windy Corner'.

It is being organised by the Wimborne branch of the Royal Air Forces Association in Dorset.

The first British troops to land in Normandy in the first few minutes of D-Day, Tuesday, June 6 1944, flew in six Horsa gliders from Tarrant Rushton late on Monday, June 5, to seize a vital bridge, near Caen. It was later named ‘Pegasus Bridge’ in honour of the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry troops.

D-Day saw two major lifts of Halifax bombers towing troop-carrying Horsa and the tank-carrying Hamilcar gliders bound for Normandy.

With the coming of peace, Tarrant Rushton airfield became the home to pioneering aviation research and manufacturing company Flight Refuelling in 1947, with the company leaving the airfield in 1980 after which it was demolished. Flight Refuelling later became Cobham PLC which is based in Wimborne.

Branch chairman Eddie Robertson said: "Royal Air Force, Glider Pilot Regiment and Army veterans, former Flight Refuelling airfield staff, their families, friends and anyone with an affinity with the former airfield – and its remarkable history across almost 40 years – are invited to attend and bring chairs.

"Tarrant Rushton airfield has a remarkable and important history in times of both war and peace. The courage of its Halifax aircrews, glider pilots and airborne troops should be remembered and commemorated. The bravery and sacrifice of the men who failed to return after flying from the airfield should never be forgotten."

Opening in May 1943, Tarrant Rushton airfield was built to train bomber and glider pilots for the D-Day, Arnhem and Rhine Crossing operations as well as the dropping of secret agents from the Special Operations Executive in occupied Europe.

For more information call John Nicholson on 01202 882895.