79th Anniversary of D Day – 6 June 2023

Lieutenant Colonel Tony Slater and Tom Prior attended the 79th anniversary Normandy commemorations of D Day in June.  A large number of services are held each year, from a large international one at the hugely impressive British Normandy Memorial at Ver sur Mer to  local services in every commune close to the beaches.

We attended and laid wreaths on behalf of the Royal Anglian Regiment and our former Regiments at commemorations for the Suffolk Regiment at Hillman and Chateau de la Londe, The Royal Norfolk Regiment at Norfolk House and the Essex Regiment in Bayeux, Tilly and at Essex Wood.  They were all well attended by local Mayors, Members of Parliament and significant numbers of local French people of all generations. The services are organised by the local Communes and increasingly involve the younger generation, with school children laying flowers on the memorials and assisting in the official wreath laying.

Les Amis du Suffolk Regiment continue to look after the site at Hillman with a band of local volunteers, showing groups round the bunkers and small museum.   Most of the site is now owned by the Commune. Les Amis are very keen to maintain the links, they are always very pleased to see anyone from the Regiment.

In Bayeux the service at the Memorials to the Essex Regiment, Sherwood Yeomanry and Royal Military Police is attended by several hundred people each year, almost all French.

Next year will be the 80th anniversary of D Day.  The French are expecting large numbers of people to attend with significant international interest, many hotels are already fully booked.

As always it was important to be reminded that the French in Normandy continue to commemorate their liberation in 1944, and remember the huge sacrifice of Allied and civilian lives.

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