D-Day is an event which changed history and shaped modern Europe, but it is made up of thousands upon thousands of human stories, stories of bravery, determination and overcoming adversity.

General Sir Gordon Messenger

So the city will host the UK’s national event on June 5 - amid five days of local commemorations by the Solent.

The main event will include a military parade along the seafront, music from military bands, readings by VIPs and a flypast featuring period aircraft. Other features will include a Royal Collection Trust exhibition, screenings to show the Normandy Commemorations live and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.

The first Portsmouth Revival festival - celebrating the food, music, dancing and vehicles of the era- will also be held, with events concluding with a ‘Sunset Concert for Heroes’ featuring acts include the Military Wives Choir and the D-Day Darlings.

Before sunset on June 5, the MV Boudicca will leave Portsmouth bound for Normandy carrying 300 veterans of the Great Crusade, escorted, as they were in 1944, by the Royal Navy.

The vessel has been specially-chartered ship using cash from The Royal British Legion and a LIBOR grant from the Treasury.

The ship will accommodate veterans for the duration of their visit to Normandy - at no cost to the men of 1944.

“They are the real VIPs at this year’s events,” General Messenger said. “D-Day is an event which changed history and shaped modern Europe, but it is made up of thousands upon thousands of human stories, stories of bravery, determination and overcoming adversity.

“The 75th anniversary is going to be a fabulous event. Portsmouth was at the heart of the effort so it’s fitting that it will be the focal point of the British element of commemorations.”

Across the Channel, anniversary events will include an inauguration at the site of the Normandy Memorial Trust’s British Normandy Memorial and services of thanksgiving at Bayeux Cathedral and Bayeux Cemetery before concluding with an evening of music and entertainment beside the beaches in Arromanches - the site of Gold Beach in June 1944.

Around 2,000 current serving personnel will be taking part in events in the UK and France, and be on hand to offer veterans support.

Veterans interested in travelling on the Boudicca can download an application form from The Royal British Legion, which needs to be completed and returned by Monday 4 February. Each veteran will be entitled to travel with one guest or carer.

The RBL will arrange the full return trip from successful applicants’ homes to the ship and back at no cost to them.

See www.britishlegion.org.uk/community/d-day-75/

HMNB Portsmouth

Learn more

Engineering Technician (Weapon Engineering)

Join us