D-DAY 80th Anniversary

80th Anniversary of D-Day
Ringing out for Peace in Ramsgate

6th June 1944 – 2024

On the 6th June 2024, D-Day 80 events across the world will mark the eightieth anniversary of one of the most significant military operations  in history. Nations will join forces to pay their respect to all the service men, women and volunteers who played their part in changing the course of World War II.  To find out how Ramsgate plans to remember them, please read on.

The Normandy landings, referred to as Operation Overlord and Neptune (for the planned amphibious attack), but collectively known as D-Day (literally translates as Day-Day) was meticulously planned and involved allies from all over the world, including sailors, soldiers, and airmen from the USA, Canada, Australia, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Greece, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland and others. The invasion is now described as a turning point in the war and often credited for shortening the war by several years. The Allies used over 5,000 ships and landing craft to land more than 150,000 troops on five beaches in Normandy (see map below). The landings marked the start of a long and costly campaign in north-west Europe, which ultimately convinced the German high command that defeat was inevitable.

Within the first week of the Normandy invasion, the combined death toll of German troops and allied troops reached 10s of thousands with many more casualties reported on both sides. Incredibly, only one serviceman was awarded the Victoria Cross and this honour went to Company Sergeant Major Stanley Hollis VC of the 6th Battalion, The Green Howards, who landed on Gold Beach. During an intense day of  fighting, Stan Hollis took two  enemy pillboxes and a field gun and crew, capturing 30  Germans single-handedly.

Company Sergeant Major Stanley Hollis VC
© Imperial War Museum

The citation for the Yorkshireman’s VC, presented by King George VI, says: “It was largely through his heroism and resource that the Company’s objectives were gained and casualties were not heavier, and by his own bravery he saved the lives of many of his men”. 

Stanley Hollis survived WWII and later became a publican.  His first job however, was working in a fish and chip shop and as was then, our friendly local chippies, will play a part in this year’s commemorations. This is because, during World Wars I & II, when most foods were restricted, fish and chips were never rationed as they were considered so important for the nation’s morale. Women took to the fields and ‘Dug for Britain’, to maintain the potato demand for chip shops and fishermen kept the supply of fish going by braving the waters to feed our countries, even with a reduced fleet of trawlermen. Fish and Chips also played a part in keeping troops safe during the D-Day landings.  If a member of the armed forces found themselves alone, they would call out “Fish!”  If a reply of “Chips!” followed, it was assumed to come from an ally, if there was no response, it was considered there were enemies close by.  Several of our local Fish & Chip shops will be supporting the D-Day commemorations by joining a national campaign to raise funds for several Forces charities and have pledged to donate £1 per portion sold, so even if you are unable to attend any of the events listed below, head to one of the participating chip shops and bag yourselves the nation’s favourite meal!

Ramsgate will commemorate the heroism of our troops and our allies’ troops, throughout the 80th Anniversary and the timetable of events taking place is below:

0800hrs: The Proclamation will be read by Leader of the Ramsgate Town Council, Cllr Steve Albon outside Custom House, Harbour Parade (for those that have to go to work or school but wish to hear the Proclamation)

0900hrs: Raising of the D-Day 80 Flag of Peace at Wellington Crescent.  Cllr Albon will also re-read The Proclamation.

1800hrs: Local historian and archivist, Isaac Naylor from Ramsgate Tunnels will be talking about the D-Day landings and this will be followed by a fish & chip supper. Book your tickets here. A bagpipe Medley will play just before the Beacon Lighting in honour of the bravery of those who fought on the beaches.

1830hrs: St-Laurence-in-Thanet Church bellringers will ‘Ring Out for Peace’

2115hrs: The official Beacon Lighting which will take place opposite the Tunnels and then the Mayor of Ramsgate, Cllr Pat Moore, will read The Tribute.

The Proclamation

Oyez, Oyez, Oyez

Today we commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day

landings in Normandy, France –

an incredible achievement in military planning and logistics

uniting brave service personnel from air, sea and land forces at

the beginning of Operation Overlord.

By the day’s end, over one hundred and fifty thousand Allied

troops had successfully stormed

the now famous Gold, Juno, Sword, Utah and Omaha beaches

to achieve a toehold in France.

In the weeks that followed,

the Allies fought bitterly against a determined foe

from the unforgiving countryside of Normandy

to the liberation of Paris two months later.

We should all remember and never forget the selfless sacrifice

and courage of all those involved

and use this Commemoration to pay our tribute

to those who gave so much to secure the freedom

we all enjoy today.

God Save the King

Christian Ashdown
Ex Household Cavalry

The Tribute

Let us remember those who gave their lives at

home and abroad during the D-Day landings,

whose sacrifice enables us all to enjoy the

peace and freedom we have today.

Let us remember those who came home

wounded, physically and mentally, and the

friends and family who cared for them.

Let us remember those who returned to restore

their relationships and rebuild their working

lives after years of conflict and turmoil.

Let us remember the families that lost husbands,

wives, sons, daughters and sweethearts.

Let us remember the servicemen and women

and merchant seafarers of all nationalities –

from all countries – who fought, suffered and

died during the D-Day landings and six years

of war.

Let us all remember those in the Royal Navy,

Army, Royal Air Force, Merchant Navy, and our

Allies – the brave people who kept us safe on

the home front and abroad and those in

reserved occupations during the difficult time of war.

Let us remember the brave doctors and nurses who

cared for the wounded, the men and women who

toiled in the fields, the coal mines, the factories

and the air raid wardens, police officers, firemen,

ambulance drivers and the young people of the Scouts

and Guides who all played such a vital role in the war.

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