Thousands of people from across the UK descended on Southsea in Portsmouth for the 70th anniversary commemorations of D Day.
Veterans were given pride of place at a special Drumhead ceremony near the war memorial with 144 members of all three Services on parade as a ceremonial guard of honour as well as representation from the Canadian and French navies and 48 cadets.
Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal took the salute at the dias after inspecting those on parade followed by music from the 42-strong band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines, Portsmouth, readings, hymns and prayers in memory of events 70 years ago.
As well as the ceremony 138 Royal Marines, Royal Navy and Royal Netherlands Marine Corps demonstrated their amphibious skills with an assault onto Southsea beach. Launched ashore by landing craft from the Fleet Flagship HMS Bulwark and the HNLMS Johan de Witt, the marines stormed the area, fighting their way through enemy personnel and finishing their demonstration in front of the crowd. Two Royal Navy Sea Kings from 845 Naval Air Squadron based at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose also swooped in to land Royal Marines in the thick of the action.
Commentary of the assault was provided by HMS Bulwark’s Amphibious Operations Officer Lieutenant Colonel Rich Maltby.
He said: “There has been a lot of planning going on in the lead-up to the DDay event between us and the Dutch marines and it is fantastic to finally be here and demonstrate the amphibious capabilities of both nations. It is a real crowd pleaser – and it gives people here the opportunity to see the Royal Marines in action.”
Following a 22-minute display from the Red Arrows the events were then finished with a sailpast of five ships – HMS Bulwark, HNLMS Johan de Witt, FS Somme, RnoN Thor Heyerdahl and RDN Sabotoren.
Type 23 frigate HMS Richmond has also sailed for the D Day events and will host a number of high profile receptions for the First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas.
Press Release, June 06, 2014; Image: UK Navy