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D-DAY 80th Anniversary Weekend

05 April 2024

Operation Overlord – D-DAY 80th Anniversary 6TH June 1944 – 6th June 2024.

This year sees the 80th anniversary of D-Day, and in commemorative events across the county, Dorset will be paying homage to the incredible bravery of allied troops who left South Coast ports and airfields for France on 6th June 1944.

On this momentous day, over 5,000 ships and landing craft carrying more than 150,000 troops descended on five Normandy beaches. The landings saw the start of a long and heavy campaign in North-West Europe which ultimately led the German command to accept that defeat was inevitable. Between 6th June 1944 and 7th May 1945, an incredible 517,816 troops and 144,093 vehicles embarked from Weymouth and Portland harbours alone. Many of the troops who embarked via Weymouth on D-Day were part of the US 1st Division (the ‘Big Red One’) who were destined to land on Omaha Beach. A memorial dedicated to the American troops can be found on the Esplanade.

Discover more about D-Day:

The term D-Day is used by the armed forces to refer to the beginning of an operation, the ‘D’ stands for Day, meaning its actually short for Day-Day.

The D-Day invasion was actually planned for 5th June. However, with cloud, strong winds and choppy seas, the weather was considered too bad for the ships to set sail.

An Associated Press report mistakenly announced that the invasion had begun on 4th June 1944. A teletype operator in London was practicing her typing but didn’t realize that her teletype transmitter was connected – the news is then broadcast around the world, which Associated Press rushed to correct minutes later.

D-Day marked the beginning of the end of World War II: the Battle of Normandy lasted for twelve more weeks, and World War II would finally come to an end on 2nd September 1945.

Below are just some of the events in Dorset that will allow us to remember the sacrifices made by so many. 

The Nothe Fort, Weymouth,  will be presenting a new exhibition to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day. Officially opening on 3rd June 2024 and running all year, this new feature will explore and commemorate the role of Nothe Fort and Weymouth’s residents in the preparations for the D-Day operations of 1944. Local residents have shared their memories of this pivotal point in WWII when Weymouth became a key location for the arrival and departure of Allied forces. The exhibition will provide a host of family-friendly displays carefully curated to share the story of Weymouth’s role in D-Day.
 

The Tank Museum, Bovington, will be running a host of family activities over half term – 25th May – 2nd June. Take part in family-friendly crafts, talks, and tours, alongside real examples of D-Day ‘Funny’ tanks. Tankfest, the world’s best display of historic moving armour, returns for three explosive days 28th – 30th June.

Dorchester: Thursday 6th June. The anniversary itself will be marked with a poignant proclamation read by the Town Crier at the iconic Town Pump, followed by a special reading of 'D-Day Heroes,' a poem dedicated to the brave soldiers who stormed the beaches of Normandy. As evening falls, all eyes will turn to Salisbury Field for a spectacular beacon lighting event. A children's choir will fill the air with gospel-inspired melodies. Serving US soldiers will share readings, and at 9:15pm, a beacon will be lit in unison with similar ceremonies across the nation, symbolising the enduring legacy of D-Day.

The Keep Military Museum in Dorchester will be hosting a very special 1940s-themed dance. The ‘D-Day Dance’ will take place on the evening of Saturday 25th May 2024 at The Army Reserve Centre, Dorchester, just next door to the museum. The evening will take you back in time to 1940s Dorchester with a live swing band, themed decoration and a bar.

Castletown D-Day Centre is open all year offering a unique chance for young and old to remember, or indeed learn for the first time, the important role played by the port of Portland during the allied invasion of northern France. There will be some special events planned here on the 6th June.

Lyme Regis will commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Normandy Landings in 1944 with a torchlight procession followed by the lighting of a beacon, taking place on 6th June.

26 Apr 2024 to 30 Jun 2024
West Bay, Dorset
West Bay at WarPop up Exhibition ‘West Bay in the War’ at the West Bay Discovery Centre. Bridport and West Bay like all towns was hugely affected by the impact of the Second World War, both from a civilian and military perspective. In this exhibition we aim to highlight some events that took place here which played an important role in achieving eventual peace in Europe in 1945. Summer opening hours ...
25 May 2024
Keep Military Museum, Dorchester, Dorset
D-Day DanceThe Keep Military Museum are delighted to announce we will be hosting a very special 1940s themed dance as part of our 80th Anniversary of D-Day programme. The ‘D-Day Dance’ will take place on the evening of Saturday 25th May 2024 at The Army Reserve Centre, Dorchester, just next door to the museum. The evening will take you back in time to 1940s Dorchester with a live swing band, themed ...
25 May 2024 to 02 Jun 2024
Wareham, Dorset
May Half Term at The Tank Museum: D-Day DeceptionsHalf term D-Day fun for the whole family to enjoy. Tank displays, kids’ activities, vehicle rides, and more! The Tank Museum brings the story of tanks and their crews to life. Experience the biggest day out in history with explosive live displays, 300 tanks, kids’ activities, and more at Dorset’s largest indoor attraction. To commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day, take part in ...
06 June 2024
Nothe Fort, Weymouth, Dorset
80th Anniversary of D-Day Exhibition OpeningNothe Fort Exhibition From June 6th 2024 Nothe Fort is delighted to announce that it will be presenting a new exhibition to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day. The exhibition will explore and commemorate the role of Nothe Fort and Weymouth’s residents in the preparations for the D-Day operations of 1944. Working with an interpretation designer, the fort's volunteer curatorial team is ...
06 June 2024
Castletown D-Day Centre, Portland, Dorset
D-Day 80th Anniversary at Castletown D-Day CentreJoin us as we mark the 80th Anniversary of D-Day where it all began, at the embarkation point here in Portland, Dorset. We are teaming up with Portland Town Council to mark the event with a day of services, tributes and activities for all the family. Throughout the day, Castletown D-Day Centre will be holding talks and activities for all the family to enjoy. Get hands on with history and ...
06 June 2024
Blandford, Dorset
D-Day Proclamation and Beacon LightingOn Thursday 6th June, the 80th anniversary of the D -Day landings, the largest sea, air and land operation in history, towns up and down the country will be paying tribute to those that gave so much to enable us to share the freedom we have today. Join us at 12pm in the Churchyard of Blandford Forum Parish Church for a short Proclamation Ceremony that we are hosting in partnership with the ...
06 June 2024
Lyme Regis, Dorset
Lyme Regis D-Day 80th Torchlight ProcessionOn Thursday 6th June, Lyme Regis will join with communities throughout the United Kingdom and Overseas Territories to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day, the largest naval, air and land operation in history. The D-Day landings of 6 June 1944 marked the beginning of the liberation of France and western Europe. We should all remember and never forget the selfless sacrifice and ...
06 June 2024
Weymouth, Dorset
Weymouth Town Council D-Day AnniversaryWeymouth Town Council will fund various activities on Thursday 6th June to coincide with the 80th anniversary of D-Day. This date is etched in Weymouth’s history as the town was a departure point in June 1944 for thousands of Allied troops, mainly Americans. They left Weymouth Harbour to play their part in one of the biggest military operations in history. Commemorating their efforts, ...
08 Jun 2024 to 09 Jun 2024
Castletown D-Day Centre, Portland, Dorset
D-Day 80th Anniversary WeekendCan't make it to our D-Day 80th Anniversary event? Don't worry, we have a whole weekend planned to commemorate the anniversary! Join us for reenactments, military vehicle displays, talks, stalls, live music, food and drink and more! We have something for all the family. Why not climb inside our battle damaged Sherman tank, try on authentic uniforms, handle real WW2 weapons, and even ...
13 June 2024
Weymouth Pavilion, Weymouth, Dorset
D-Day DarlingsFollowing on from their smash hit show celebrating the King’s Coronation, the Nation’s favourite wartime-inspired group, The D-Day Darlings, proudly present their BRAND NEW Show marking the 80th Anniversary of D-Day! The Show... Expect an emotive and reflective, yet highly entertaining and joyous performance. Featuring best loved songs from the era including stunning new arrangements, ...

 

 

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