Stunning Red Arrows Fly-Past Thrills Crowds at D-Day 80 Commemerations in Portsmouth

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D-Day 80 poster, Havant, Hampshire, England
D-Day 80 poster, Havant, Hampshire, England

Red Arrows Fly-Past D-Day80 Portsmouth, Hampshire, England

Today June 5th 2024 marks the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings in 1944.

Hundreds of local people turned out to support a special ticketed event that took place today in Portsmouth in Hampshire, England to celebrate the lives of brave military men and women who took part in the D-Day activities 80 years ago that changed the course of history.

English royals King Charles III, Queen Camilla, William The Prince of Wales and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak were among the distinguished guests invited to attend by the Ministry of Defence. Hundreds of elderly veterans and senior citizens who were essential in delivering the Normandy landing plans of June 1944 and their accompanying family members were also welcomed to take their seats in the auditorium.

The VIP’s watched the ceremony on a large screen that could also be heard and partly seen by the enthusiastic crowd that had gathered along the Esplanade on Southsea Common to share in the formal commemoration of the occasion.

Everyone was excited to sing the National Anthemn accompanied by the military band. Then the military gun salute was performed aboard HMS St.Albans, a large naval military ship in the Solent. The Frigate slowly sailed past the monumental WWII War Memorial at the edge of the historic port harbour of Portsmouth.

This year’s D-Day80 ceremony remembers an important and pivotal part of World War II when tens of thousands of brave men and women organised and embarked on a trip across the Channel in many small boats, delivering a surprise invasion of the Normandy coast in order to defeat the Germans, who were defending the French coastline.

The audience enjoyed the classic wartime tune originally sung by Vera Lynn “We’ll meet again”. Local schoolchildren sang a more modern song with an appropriate message by the American band The Beach Boys entitled “God only knows what I would be without you.”

At the end of the official service everyone in Portsmouth harbour was treated to a magnificent fly past by the Red Arrows. The BAE Systems’ Hawk T1 aircraft were accompanied by a Typhoon FGR4 jet and together they painted the blue sky with stunning red, white and blue smoke trail stripes.

Two enormous Chinook helicopters also impressed onlookers with their presence adding to the event which marks the critical D-Day.

Security was tight and armed policemen stood outside the fenced off ticketed event arena. Mounted policemen and women walked around the site riding beautiful tall military horses. Male and female police officers also travelled around the event on bicycles. Community police officers smiled and chatted with the general public.

There was a respectful and positive atmosphere as people of all ages came out on a perfect summers day to show their respect and give thanks to the men and women of a special generation. The men and women involved in D-Day in 1944 gave so much to defend the country they love and ensure the freedom and democracy that we enjoy in England today.

This D-Day80 commemoration today and the services that will take place in Normandy in France and Portsmouth today and tomorrow 6th June are essential for us all to remember all those citizens who served in WW II and all those we tragically lost. It is an opportunity to teach the next generation about our nation’s values and talk about how we can build international partnerships where possible as well as finding ways to avoid unnecessary conflict and develop a peaceful world in the future.

King Charles III addressing WWII veterans at the British Normandy Memorial in France on 6th June 2024 summarised the commemorative events on both sides of the Channel perfectly: “On the beaches of Normandy, on the seas beyond and in the skies overhead, our armed forces carried out their duty with a humbling sense of resolve and determination, qualities so characteristic of that wartime generation. Very many of them never came home, they lost their lives on the D-Day landing grounds or in the many battles that followed. It is with a most profound sense of gratitude that we remember them and all who served at this critical time.”   (2)

See the Red Arrows Flypast here:

Red Arrows Fly-Past D-Day80 Portsmouth video by A.Howse

(1) ‘Cockpit view of the Red Arrow flypast for D-Day80’ Curtis Lancaster, BBC News, 5 June 2024 ‘Cockpit view of the Red Arrow flypast for D-Day80’ Curtis Lancaster, BBC News

(2) ‘That remarkable wartime generation’ – D-Day anniversary quotes’ The Standard (London), 6 June 2024 ‘That remarkable wartime generation’ – D-Day anniversary quotes’ The Standard (London)