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D-Day 75th Celebrations

by Michael Ford last modified 11 Jun, 2019 05:27 PM

Churches throughout our Diocese held services with their communities to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

D-Day 75th Celebrations

At Wimborne Minster - photo courtesy Anthony Oliver

In June 1944, thousands of soldiers travelled from the UK's beaches to begin the operation to liberate Nazi-occupied France during World War Two and throughout the country events took place last week to commemorate the efforts and sacrifices made during the largest seaborne invasion in history.

In Salisbury, as elsewhere in the Diocese, the Royal British Legion has led memorial services.

Local people lined the Guildhall Square to remember those who were involved in D-Day and the Battle of Normandy as the prayers were lead by the Revd Kelvin Inglis, from St Thomas' Church.

The city and its surrounding areas played an important part in the preparations for the Normandy landings 75 years ago. Planning was carried out at Wilton House, many of the soldiers were based and trained on Salisbury Plain, and Breamore House near Fordingbridge was used as a headquarters for the 7th Corps of the US Army.

Dorset also played a key role in the preparations for D-Day, Poole Portland & Weymouth all being key embarkation points from along the South coast of England. And Poole Harbour welcomed MV Boudicca, the liner carrying the D-Day veterans.

While other veterans played key roles in local memorial services.

The War Memorial on the Minster Green at Wimborne was the venue for their commemoration, where Denis Bowater, who served in the 185th Infantry Brigade and who was on the MTB offshore having laid the smoke screen for the landing craft, laid a wreath.

Anthony Oliver from Wimborne Minster said:

"David Keig, the Wimborne Poppy Appeal Organiser laid a second wreath on behalf of the other Wimborne Veteran Nigel Cresswell, who served in Motor Torpedo Boats and also landed on the beach on 6th June 1944 but was unable to attend this morning through ill health."

In West Dorset, one village held a special thanksgiving service this weekend.

Langton Herring, known as being a 'Doubly Thankful Village' as no one from their community died in either World War One or Two, celebrated the fact that twenty people, both male and female, went to and returned home from the war between 1939 and 1945.

The village exhibited memorabilia and served wartime food such as corned beef hash.

Parish vicar the Revd Margaret Preuss-Higham said:

"Even though we are thankful that everybody came back, there is a realisation that other villages were not so fortunate."

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