A strong voice for NI Veterans

Commemorating the 80th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings in Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, a series of regional events took place to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings, a humbling and poignant tribute to a pivotal moment in our history. These events honored the bravery and sacrifice of those who participated in the largest air and sea invasion in history, marking the significance of their contributions.

In Bangor, a weekend of events led up to D-Day, showcasing the town’s crucial role in Operation Overlord. Bangor was a key training and preparation site for many American troops. General Eisenhower himself visited Bangor and Belfast Lough to inspect the troops before their departure. This historical connection was brought to life through various commemorative activities, reflecting on the importance of these preparations for the success of the D-Day landings.

On June 6th, many councils across Northern Ireland lit beacons to mark the end of the first day of fighting in 1944. From the beaches of Portrush to the harbour of Larne, the castle of Bangor, and the heights of Slieve Donard, these beacons symbolized respect for the fallen and gratitude to the survivors. These acts of remembrance linked communities across the region in a shared acknowledgment of the sacrifices made.

A notable event included an audience with BBC documentary maker Brian Henry Martin and author Mark Scott, who presented materials from the 2003 recordings featured in “We Fought on D-Day.” Hosted at Belfast City Hall on the morning of June 6th, the event provided firsthand accounts of the realities of D-Day and war. “It was not glorious; war is grotesque,” commented one veteran featured in the documentary. The documentary can be viewed on BBC iPlayer.

In Kilkeel, the Northern Ireland Veterans Commissioner’s Office sponsored a D-Day exhibition facilitated by the Schomberg Society. The exhibition attracted many locals and schools, providing an educational and reflective experience for attendees.

On Saturday, June 8th, a major event was held at St. Angelo Airport in Enniskillen to commemorate D-Day. The day featured a military village, numerous support and outreach services, and various events that fostered a strong sense of community spirit. Enniskillen’s proximity to sites used extensively during World War II for air support of transatlantic convoys underscored the region’s significant wartime contributions.

Northern Ireland played an indispensable role throughout World War II, and it is vital to remember this history. Acknowledging our place in these historic events ensures that the sacrifices and efforts of those involved are never forgotten, reminding us of how different our world might be today without their bravery.

A huge congratulations and heartfelt thanks to all the event organisers, the councils that facilitated and held commemoration events, and the Royal British Legion and Regimental Associations for their continued dedication to honouring our history and our veterans.

A dawn parade in Larne to commemorate the start of the DDay Landings 80 years to the day.
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