No News On D-Day Passes

With less than a hundred days to go to 6th June 2014, there is still no update from France or any authorities organising the official DDay70 commemorations of how members of the public will access the main ceremonies. The official French 70th Anniversary of Normandy website reports:

“Only holders of invitations can access the official ceremonies. However, spaces will be open to the public in the immediate proximity of these sites. All this organization will be detailed in the coming weeks.

The exact location of international and bi-national ceremonies are not yet known. Practical information is not available at this time. The transport to the sites of the ceremonies will be done through a system of organized bus. More information will be provided in the coming months.”

With such a limited window of time between now and 6th June these comments are very frustrating for individual visitors and tour operators alike.

So what is known?

  • Sword Beach: There will be an official international ceremony here where the public will be able to attend via a pass system and/or brought in via a public bus system from Caen. No further details known as of March 2014.
  • Pegasus Bridge/Ranville: non-public ceremonies because of VVIPs. Access for one veteran and one carer only by application to the Airborne Forces Associations arranging the event. No further details known as of March 2014.
  • Bayeux: ceremonies in the Bayeux War Cemetery and the cathedral for veterans; no further details known but a pass system likely. No further details known as of March 2014.
  • Arromanches: there will be ceremonies here in the afternoon. It is not known if VVIP/VIPs will attend but security is likely and a pass system also likely. No further details known as of March 2014.
  • Omaha Beach: There will be an official international ceremony here involving VVIPs and the public will be be able to attend via a pass system but no details as yet are known. No further details known as of March 2014.
  • Utah Beach: Official ceremonies planned with public access via a pass system. No further details known as of March 2014.

If you can add to the above please do so in the comments below.



Ministry of Defences Announces D-Day Plans

The Ministry of Defence in London have announced their plans for the 70th Anniversary of D-Day.

Personnel from all 3 services will provide logistic and ceremonial support at a range of events taking place on 5 and 6 June this year at the historic anniversary in France.

The commemorations, known as ‘Normandy 70’, will be supported by the armed forces. This work is being led by the Force Troops Command and 3rd (UK) Division of the British Army, the division that led the assault onto Sword Beach 70 years ago.

Events taking place in the Normandy region include ceremonies on 5 June to mark the liberation of Ranville by the British 13th Parachute Battalion – the first village to be liberated on D-Day.

Members of 16 Air Assault Brigade will mount a mass parachute drop, which will be followed by a memorial service at the statue of Field Marshal Montgomery in Colleville-Montgomery.

On 6 June, a joint UK-French service of remembrance will take place at Bayeux Cathedral, followed by a special event at the Bayeux Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery.

Speaking about the plans for the 70th anniversary, Defence Minister Lord Astor said:

“I’m delighted that the Ministry of Defence will be supporting the veterans of this historic campaign as they gather to remember on the beaches of Normandy. The 70th anniversary will be an occasion for us all to pay fitting tribute to those who fought for the liberation of Europe, and I know that our servicemen and women will be honoured to take part.”

The Ministry of Defence is working closely with partners across government and with external agencies, including the Normandy Veterans Association, the Royal British Legion and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, to deliver a fitting programme of commemorations to mark the anniversary.

Further details, including information on the form and content of events for the anniversary, will be announced in due course.

Normandy veterans

Veterans wishing to return to Normandy in June will be able to apply for financial support from the Big Lottery Fund, which last February extended its Heroes Return 2 scheme until December 2015. The scheme helps Second World War veterans and their spouses, widows and widowers, and accompanying helpers, to undertake commemorative visits.


D-Day Plans in Portsmouth Announced

The D-Day Museum in Portsmouth has announced on its Facebook page the provisional plans for the D-Day70 commemorations in Portsmouth for June 2014:

“Here is are some initial details of the plans for the 70th anniversary of D-Day in Portsmouth. From 3rd to 8th June, there will be a veterans’ centre on the Southsea seafront, where Normandy veterans will be able to meet each other and members of the modern armed forces. On 5th June a drumhead service and parade on Southsea Common will be held, following this there will be an amphibious landing on Southsea beach by the Royal Navy. In the evening there will be a Sunset Concert for Heroes aimed specifically at veterans and their families as guest of honour. On 6th June, we turn our focus to the remembrance of D-Day with a service at the D-Day Stone in Southsea led by the Royal British Legion. The weekend of 7th – 8th June will see military vehicles, re-enactors and other activities bringing the wartime period to life on the seafront. Other events and exhibitions are also planned, and nearer the time more information will be published at– a designated website is also currently being developed. Events are still being planned, and more details will be released nearer the time.”

D-Day 70: Initial Plans for Ceremonies in the US Sector 2014

Some initial details for official ceremonies in the American Sector of the Normandy battlefields for the 6th June 2014 period have been announced. Access to these ceremonies is open to all, although there may be some VIP areas and also traffic restriction because of the participation of international Heads of State.

Given the number of British servicemen involved in the landings at Omaha Beach it is also hoped they will have some involvement in ceremonies as well as those already noted.

Thursday, June 5th 2014 
Utah Beach (Cotentin – 50) : 15:00 pm
International Ceremony with American, French and German Veterans

Friday, June 6th 2014 
Colleville-sur-Mer, US military cemetery (Calvados – 14) : 07:00 am
International Ceremony with American, French and German Veterans

Friday, June 6th 2014 
Utah Beach (Manche – 50) : 09:00 am
“IVY March” from Utah Beach to Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, on the same itinerary used by the men of the 4th Infantry Division on June, 6th 1944

Friday, June 6th 2014 
La Cambe, German military cemetery (Calvados – 14) : 14:00 pm
International Ceremony with American, French and German Veterans

Friday, June 6th 2014 
Sainte-Mère-Eglise (Manche – 50) : 20:30 pm
Peace concert at the church of Sainte-Mère-Eglise

D-Day 70: Initial Plans for Ceremonies in British Airborne Area

Airborne veterans in Normandy (Reuters)

I have received some details of the initial plans for 70th Anniversary commemorations in the British Airborne sector of the Normandy battlefields for June 2014.

4 June 2014

  • Memorial Service: To be held at Putôt-en-Auge.

5 June 2014

  • Merville Battery: Short service of commemoration.
  • Breville Crossroads: Short service of Commemoration
  • Veterans’ picnic: At Breville attended by veterans and their guests.
  • Parachute insertion: details to be announced.

6 June 2014

  • Ranville Crossroads: A short wreath laying ceremony to 13 Para Bn at their memorial.
  • Veteran March: Veterans march from the crossroads to the cemetery.
  • Memorial Service: A memorial service in Ranville War Cemetery.