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Remembering D Day

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6 June 2024 marks the 80th anniversary of Operation Overlord. Now more commonly known as D Day, this was a pivotal moment in World War II. Allied Forces launched a full scale invasion which began the liberation of north-west Europe from Nazi occupation.

Overlord was the largest operation in British military history. It involved combined airborne bombardment of enemy strongholds in occupied France; night-time landing of army and special forces by parachute and gliders; Naval bombardment of German defences and bases on the Normandy coast and the establishment of landing zones on 5 Normandy beaches, code named Omaha, Utah, Gold, Sword and Juno. Key points such as the town of St. Mere Eglise and the strategically important Pegasus Bridge crossing had to be captured, before Allied Forces could move inland to liberate Cherbourg and Caen.

An invasion force of 7000 ships and landing craft, manned by 195,000 troops from 8 Allied nations took part in the Normandy landings, helped by an advance campaign of mis-information and sabotage by Allied Special forces and the French Resistance. 

To mark this historic anniversary, Merton Heritage Service had compiled a collection of resources, from online displays and activities, to archive footage and most importantly, the reminiscences of combatants themselves. 

At least 4,414 Allied servicemen died on 6 June 1944, with 5000 wounded. A further 73,000 died in the ensuing Battle of Normandy. with 153,000 wounded. Their courage and sacrifice led to the liberation of Europe and the defeat of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime. We owe them aa huge debt of gratitude an are honoured to preserve their memory.

Click on this link to view our DDay 80 page, or use the History Pages & Activities tab from our homepage.

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