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Count down to D-Day 75

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D-Day 75 web

With less than 75 days to go to D-Day 75 - here's a roundup of all the activities happening in the city to mark this significant anniversary.

On 5th June Portsmouth will be the national focus for a commemorative event on Southsea common. The event will be attended by veterans and serving members of the armed forces from all three services, military bands, VIPs and Normandy veterans including veterans who'll later sail to Normandy from Portsmouth on a ship specially chartered by The Royal British Legion.

The event will include flypasts from the Red Arrows and historic aircraft and be followed by a private reception before the departure of the Legion’s ship to Normandy representing the crossing made 75 years ago - all escorted by the Royal Navy.

On D-Day 6th June at 11am The D-Day 75 Remembrance Service will be held at the D-Day Stone in Southsea, opposite South Parade Pier with music from the Band of the Royal Marines.

Live coverage of the events in Normandy will be screened on a Big Screen on Southsea Common - these events include an inauguration at the site of the Normandy Memorial Trust’s British Normandy Memorial and The Royal British Legion’s services at Bayeux Cathedral and CWGC Cemetery, Bayeux.

On Friday 7th June between 10.30-11.30am the Portsmouth Music Hub will perform a special composition for D-Day 75 - with over 600 local children performing on the stage on Southsea Common. There will also be music from a military concert band during the day.

From 6pm a performance will be delivered on Southsea common stage following the project/commission which has been a joint commission between PCC and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra to devise a piece to mark the 75th Anniversary of the D Day landings. This new work is being written by composer James Olsen for a specially formed young person's choir to be accompanied by wind and brass instruments. The work will be shaped by reminiscences of D Day veterans as well as the wonderful new D Day Story and the key themes this presents.

Later that evening from 7pm there'll be a family film screening and the general public will be able to vote for the film they want to watch from a selection of themed films through the D-Day 75 Facebook page.

On Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th June the Southsea common will host The Portsmouth Revival - a weekend of entertainment and activities for all the family featuring music and dancing from the 1940s, arena displays, military and vintage vehicles, exhibitions and displays, a 1940s vintage market, archive and war film screenings.

On the main stage there will be performances from community groups and in the arena there will be displays, Royal Marines marching band, and RAF working dogs and a Red Arrows fly past on Saturday.

Saturday evening will feature a poignant Sunset Concert for Heroes from 7.30pm featuring the Portsmouth Military Wives Choir, the D-Day Darlings and The Royal Marines Association and will draw to a close.

Throughout the week there will be traders, bars, caterers, charities and 1940's fairground rides onsite.

D-Day Story web

The D-Day Story will be open every day from 10am to 5.30pm and the Last of the Tide Exhibition at Portsmouth Museum will be open 10am-5.30pm - an exhibition featuring portraits of D-Day veterans commissioned by HRH the Prince of Wales, on loan from the Royal Collections Trust.

Further information can be found on the D-Day 75 Facebook page and www.visitportsmouth.co.uk

Council Leader Gerald Vernon Jackson said: "There is a huge amount of activity in the city to mark the occasion of D-Day 75. From the national commemorative event on 5 June to the more upbeat revival festival at the weekend - Portsmouth will provide the backdrop now as it did 75 years ago to honour the courage and dedication of everyone involved in the Normandy Landings."

Captain of HMNB Portsmouth Captain David George RN said: “The Royal Navy and HM Naval Base Portsmouth are incredibly proud to be taking part in the national commemorations for D-Day 75. Nearby Southwick House provided the headquarters for the operation while the naval base was the main departure point for forces heading to Sword and Juno beaches so it is only right that we commemorate those actions 75 years later. We will be dedicating personnel and ships in support of the event and I am sure that all those who attend will have a fantastic opportunity to salute the veterans.”

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