Christchurch Park to host moving D-Day memorial service
PUBLISHED: 14:24 05 June 2019 | UPDATED: 14:24 05 June 2019
Ipswich is to come together for a poignant ceremony at Christchurch Park to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Normandy landings.
The town's Royal British Legion (RBL) branch has organised the moving service at the popular park at 7.30am tomorrow (Thursday, June 6) to give those who might otherwise miss out a chance to attend the ceremony before heading to work in the morning.
The event at the cenotaph in the park will start with a welcome by RBL Ipswich chairman John Downie before Liz Coombes reads a poem by D-Day veteran Cyril Crain.
Ipswich deputy mayor Jane Riley will lay a wreath at the cenotaph on behalf of the town, while prayers will be said and the Last Post will be played.
Mr Downie said the event will help to remind people of the huge significance of a crucial moment in British history, which saw almost 160,000 Allied troops storm the Normandy beaches to start the liberation of Western Europe from Nazi Germany.
"We felt we really needed to mark the day," said Mr Downie.
"It was the beginning of the end of the war and as a result of that push, we managed to push the Germans back into Germany and eventually defeat them.
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"We can't let these points of history be forgotten. I don't think there's a danger that people will forget D-Day but there's more of a danger they'll not realise the importance of it.
"Suffolk as a whole was a pivotal part of the whole ware effort because of all the airfields that were around the county.
"The reason for it being early in the morning is to encourage more people on the way to work to come."
The D-Day assault was preceded hours before by 24,000 troops who parachuted in or came by glider.
After fierce fighting the Allies secured the beaches within hours and were able to push inland, although it would be another 11 months before the Germans finally surrendered.
Today an armada of more than 30 wartime planes are due to take to the skies over Suffolk and Essex as part of the 75th D-Day anniversary celebrations.
The flight of 34 veteran DC-3 Dakota and C-47 Skymaster transport planes will set off from Duxford near Cambridge on to recreate the parachute drops that launched the Normandy landings in 1944.
The planes will fly over Haverhill, Clare and Sudbury then to Colchester before setting course for the original British paratrooper drop zone in Normandy.