D-Day Landings: Newham commemorates 70th anniversary
PUBLISHED: 11:18 06 June 2014
Newham Council is commemorating the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy by flying the Armed Forces Day flag alongside the Union flag from its Town Halls in Stratford and East Ham.
June 6, 1944, known as D-Day, saw one of the most audacious and heroic wartime operations of the 20th century. Approximately 130,000 Allied soldiers landed on the beaches of France as part of Operation Overlord. It was the largest and most difficult land and sea operation ever mounted in warfare.
Newham played an important part during the preparations for the D-Day landings. Leading up to the invasions, more than two million tons of stores left the Royal Docks. These included 190,000 tanks and vehicles. Many of the concrete artificial harbours, known as Mulberries, used in the landings were also constructed at the Royal Docks.
Many of the invasion troops left from the Royal Docks too. They had been waiting in makeshift camps at Silvertown and Canning Town during April and May of 1944. Part of the bomb-damaged ruins in the two areas were cordoned off and used for military training.
Mayor Sir Robin Wales was joined by Newham councillors, council chief executive Kim Bromley-Derry and Major Larry Davis, Officer Commanding G Company 7 Rifles based in West Ham, in unfurling the flag being flown at Stratford Town Hall.
The Mayor said: “It is important that we mark this significant anniversary and we are proud to fly the Armed Forces flag today. D-Day was such an important moment in our history. It helped to change the face of the world.
“We must remember the huge sacrifice made by the thousands of British, American and Commonwealth troops who gave their lives during the landings to secure freedom from dictatorship. It is also right that we commemorate the lives of the servicemen and women who survived the landings and who went on to bring an end to the Second World War.
“Fighting for your country is the ultimate expression of support for our community and way of life. We will never waiver in our support for former and current members of our armed forces and their families.”
Newham Council will again fly the flags from the Town Halls on Armed Forces Day, June 28. An exhibition called Newham’s War, which includes material on the D-Day landings, will be displayed at Stratford Library from 9 June.
There will be activities in the months ahead to mark the centenary of the start of the First World War, including events to commemorate the lives of five residents who received the Victoria Cross. There is a commemorative tea dance at the Old Town Hall, Stratford, on August 4.
At the Mayor’s Newham Show on July 12 and 13 in Central Park, East Ham, visitors can discover what it was like for soldiers on the front line in a reconstructed replica trench. There will also be a mock Army HQ and mobile hospital.
Newham Council continues to support the armed services and reserve forces by prioritising housing for former and current members of the forces and their families; by fundraising for Care for Casualties at events; and by continued support for Remembrance Sunday activities.