On Wednesday 5th June, as the cloak of dusk descended, hundreds of people gathered along Ventnor’s seafront, at the Winter Gardens and on the bandstand, to pay tribute to those who lost their lives on D-Day 1944.
The sound of wartime music floated across the bay as those assembled waited in anticipation for the arrival of MV Boudicca, which had on board 300 D-Day veterans.
Heading to Normandy
They’d spent the day in Southsea, taking part in the 75th commemorations – which were attended by the Royal family and heads of state, including President Donald Trump – but were now on board a liner commissioned by the Royal British legion to take them to Normandy for a service the following day.
Just before sunset, Royal Navy guardship HMS St Albans, accompanying MV Boudicca, signalled Ventnor by flashing Aldis Lamp:
“We acknowledge the townspeople of Ventnor assembled for D-Day 75 commemorations and their Wartime contribution.”
Commemorative prayers were read out from the bandstand by Churches Together in Ventnor, before former serviceman, William, played the Navy’s equivalent of the Last Post, the sounding of Evening Colours, on his trumpet.
Listen to the full service below:
We’ll meet again
HMS St Albans then flashed a parting message on behalf of the Flotilla:
“Farewell and God speed – we’ll meet again.”
The ships then sheered away over the horizon and made for the Normandy beaches overnight, with the sound of Vera Lynn singing ‘Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye’ drifting across the bay.
Over £700 raised
The official Commemorative Booklet ‘D-Day 75 off Ventnor’, containing ‘Ventnor’s secret Role on the 5thJune 1944’ in addition to the programme, raised £718 for the Royal British Legion, through the generosity of the townspeople of Ventnor.
Below are 360 photos, to give you a look around the event as it happened. It should give you an idea of how things went on.
Along the bottom are five photos. Click on them to view them. Click and drag with your mouse to look around and up and down in the pictures.
(It was starting to get dark, so the shots aren’t as clear as they’d normally be)