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D-Day cadets
Local cadets on parade for the D-Day commemorations.

A beacon was lit in Gillingham last night as the culmination of the town’s activities to mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy.

The beacon was lit at 9.15pm by members of the Gillingham Rotary Club while the International Tribute was read out by the High Sheriff of Dorset, Anthony Woodhouse, the mayor of Gillingham, Councillor Roger Weeks, and local Army Cadets and Scouts.

D-Day beacon
The D-Day beacon lit at Hardings Park, Gillingham.

The commemoration event then concluded with the playing of the Piper’s Lament.

Earlier, the acts of commemoration at Hardings Park had begun with a march by the Gillingham detachment of the Dorset Army Cadet Force followed by music, including the National Anthem, from the Gillingham Imperial Silver Band and Wessex Military Band.

A choir of students from Gillingham Secondary School and Gillingham, St Mary’s and Wyke primary schools then performed three songs, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, White Cliffs of Dover and We’ll Meet Again.

There was also a parade of standards and a march by cadets, and the Reverend Canon Tim Heaton and the Reverend Angus Mayhew officiated over the Drumhead Service. A Drumhead Service is a church service traditionally conducted ‘in the field’ during armed conflict with regimental drums piled on top of each other to provide a platform for the ceremony.

Drumehead service
The Drumhead Service at Hardings Park.

The High Sheriff and the mayor then reviewed the Cadet Parade and the two bands performed again, including a rendition of the Royal British Legion March.

D-Day programme
The programme of events for the D-Day commemorations in Gillingham.

See also:

Gillingham community gathers at care home to honour D-Day commemoration

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