Members of the West of Scotland Branch at the D-Day Memorial Hermitage Park in Helensburgh

Members of the West of Scotland Branch at the War Memorial, in Hermitage Park, Helensburgh.

The D-Day landings on 6 June 1944 were the largest seaborne invasion in history. Along with associated airborne operations, they marked the beginning of the liberation of France and Western Europe.

Unprecedented coordination among Allied nations, combined with meticulous planning by engineers, meteorologists, logisticians, and countless others, assembled a 5,000-vessel armada from 13 countries to approach the shores of Normandy.

In the early hours of D-Day, 24,000 paratroopers and glider-borne troops landed behind German lines to provide tactical support. Massive naval and aerial bombardments aimed to suppress German defenses and weaponry. Following this, over 130,000 troops landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of the Normandy coast, often encountering intact defenses in the initial waves. By the end of D-Day, Allied casualties numbered 10,000. This was only the beginning. The ensuing Battle of Normandy extended into August, costing tens of thousands of lives as it defeated and pushed the occupying German forces eastward. This decisive victory for the Allies paved the way for the liberation of much of northwestern Europe.

This year marks the 80th anniversary of D-Day and will be commemorated with ceremonies on both sides of the Channel, honouring the bravery and sacrifice of those who participated in this historic operation. One such ceremony was held in Helensburgh at the War Memorial in Hermitage Park, attended by members of the West of Scotland Branch of the Submariners Association.

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