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D-DayDorset residents are invited to a flag raising ceremony to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day Landings on Thursday 6 June.

The ceremony will take place at 9am at the Memorial outside County Hall in Dorchester where veterans, military personnel and dignitaries will pay homage to the incredible bravery of allied troops who left south coast ports and airfields for France on 6 June 1944.

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 2 September 1945.

During the Ceremony, the D-Day 80 Flag of Peace will be raised as a respect to our veterans and serving Armed Forces.

The service will commence with the Proclamation read by Dorchester Town Crier, Mr Anthony Harrison.

Reverend John Yarrien, superintendent minister, Dorset South and West Methodist Circuit will lead the service and the Royal British Legion county chairman will invite the Chair of Dorset Council, Councillor Stella Jones MBE to speak.

Messages from the five charities delivered by Royal Naval Association, A Squadron Royal Wessex Yeomanry, Royal Air Force Association, Merchant Navy Association and US First Infantry Division will follow.

St Osmund’s School Choir will sing two songs acapella – Dona Nobis Pacem and Benedictus Sanctus, and children from St Mary’s RC First School will also be attending.

The minister will invite His Majesty’s Vice Lord-Lieutenant, The Honorable Mrs Townshend to read the Exhortation.  This will be followed by the Royal British Legion county chairman, Mr Grant Parrott, reading the Kohima Plea.

On this momentous day, 80 years ago, 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 in Weymouth.

Everyone is welcome to attend to pay their respects to those who took part in the landings on the Normandy beaches in 1944 and the battles that followed.

There will also be commemorations in Gillingham (see here for details).

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