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President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump were in England and Normandy for commemorations of the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

The night before, he hosted Prince Charles and Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall for dinner at the US ambassador’s residence in Regent’s Park, London. The guests at his table were also in Portsmouth the following morning. Theresa May is on the right in the photo:

On Wednesday, June 5, the Royal Family’s Twitter account summarised D-Day’s importance:

Also:

The Allied landings on the Normandy beaches marked the start of a long and costly campaign to liberate north-west Europe from German occupation.

This was the scene in Portsmouth, on England’s south coast that day:

A short time later, veterans who had been involved 75 years ago began taking their seats:

The Queen, who served as a mechanic during the war, arrived:

This is a photograph for the history books:

Warm exchanges took place beforehand:

The Queen stood between Prince Charles and President Trump to watch the proceedings:

She addressed the crowd, referencing her father, George VI:

President Trump read then-President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s prayer for the troops:

D-Day veterans appeared on the dais to grateful applause.

Actress Celia Imrie (speaking in the next video) compered (emceed) the various performances:

The following ABC News video has the Portsmouth commemorations in their entirety:

The BBC has a set of photographs covering the day’s events.

Afterwards, the Queen, Prince Charles and the Trumps met with veterans who so bravely served in D-Day operations:

Trump also met with British veterans as well as US Navy personnel based in England:

The Queen then bade farewell to the Trumps, who were leaving for Ireland, where the president met with the prime minister there that afternoon:

The Trumps went to Normandy the following day for D-Day ceremonies before returning to Ireland, then onwards to the United States.

The Q Tree has the Trumps’ schedule after Portsmouth for the rest of June 5 (emphasis in the original):

2:50pm BST / 9:50am EST THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY depart Southsea Commons en route to Southsea Castle Landing Zone, Portsmouth, United Kingdom

2:55pm BST / 9:55am EST THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY arrive at Southsea Castle Landing Zone, Portsmouth, United Kingdom

3:05pm BST / 10:05am EST THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY depart Portsmouth, United Kingdom, en route to Southampton Airport, Southampton, United Kingdom, Portsmouth, United Kingdom

3:25pm BST / 10:25am EST THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY arrive at Southampton Airport, Southampton, United Kingdom

3:35pm BST / 10:35am EST THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY depart Southampton Airport en route Shannon Airport, Shannon, Ireland, Southampton, United Kingdom

U.K State Visit Concludes ~

4:50pm IST / 11:50am EST THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY arrive at Shannon Airport, Shannon, Ireland

5:00pm IST / 12:00pm EST THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY depart Shannon Airport en route to Shannon Airport Terminal, Shannon, Ireland

5:05pm IST / 12:05pm EST THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY arrive at Shannon Airport Terminal, Shannon, Ireland

5:15pm IST / 12:15pm EST THE PRESIDENT participates in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Taoiseach Leo Varadkar of Ireland, Shannon, Ireland

5:20pm IST / 12:20pm EST THE PRESIDENT participates in an expanded bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Taoiseach Leo Varadkar of Ireland, Shannon, Ireland

6:00PM IST / 1:00pm EST THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY depart Shannon Airport Terminal en route to Shannon Airport, Shannon, Ireland

6:05pm IST / 1:05PM EST THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY arrive at Shannon Airport, Shannon, Ireland

6:15pm IST / 1:15pm EST THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY depart Shannon, Airport, en route to Trump International Doonbeg Landing Zone, Doonbeg, Ireland, Shannon, Ireland

6:35pm IST / 1:35pm EST THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY arrive at Trump International Doonbeg Landing Zone, Doonbeg, Ireland

The Clare Champion featured their arrival:

At the end of Tuesday, Trump tweeted:

He and his entourage would fly from Ireland to Colleville-sur-Mer in the département of Calvados of Normandy the following morning.

Speaking of Normandy, two British veterans were preparing to re-enact their jumps from 1944. Here is one of them undergoing a refresher course:

This is what happened on Wednesday, June 6:

This is what the Trumps saw as they landed in France that morning:

The following is an excerpt of President Trump’s speech on Omaha Beach:

The Q Tree has his speech in full on Omaha Beach, excerpted below (emphases mine). More than 60 surviving American D-Day veterans flew to France for this important anniversary. Many more Second World War military survivors also attended:

President Macron, Mrs. Macron, and the people of France; to the First Lady of the United States and members of the United States Congress; to distinguished guests, veterans, and my fellow Americans:

We are gathered here on Freedom’s Altar. On these shores, on these bluffs, on this day 75 years ago, 10,000 men shed their blood, and thousands sacrificed their lives, for their brothers, for their countries, and for the survival of liberty.

Today, we remember those who fell, and we honor all who fought right here in Normandy. They won back this ground for civilization.

To more than 170 veterans of the Second World War who join us today: You are among the very greatest Americans who will ever live. You’re the pride of our nation. You are the glory of our republic. And we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Here with you are over 60 veterans who landed on D-Day. Our debt to you is everlasting. Today, we express our undying gratitude.

When you were young, these men enlisted their lives in a Great Crusade — one of the greatest of all times. Their mission is the story of an epic battle and the ferocious, eternal struggle between good and evil.

On the 6th of June, 1944, they joined a liberation force of awesome power and breathtaking scale. After months of planning, the Allies had chosen this ancient coastline to mount their campaign to vanquish the wicked tyranny of the Nazi empire from the face of the Earth.

The battle began in the skies above us. In those first tense midnight hours, 1,000 aircraft roared overhead with 17,000 Allied airborne troops preparing to leap into the darkness beyond these trees.

Then came dawn. The enemy who had occupied these heights saw the largest naval armada in the history of the world. Just a few miles offshore were 7,000 vessels bearing 130,000 warriors. They were the citizens of free and independent nations, united by their duty to their compatriots and to millions yet unborn.

There were the British, whose nobility and fortitude saw them through the worst of Dunkirk and the London Blitz. The full violence of Nazi fury was no match for the full grandeur of British pride.

There were the Canadians, whose robust sense of honor and loyalty compelled them to take up arms alongside Britain from the very, very beginning.

There were the fighting Poles, the tough Norwegians, and the intrepid Aussies. There were the gallant French commandos, soon to be met by thousands of their brave countrymen ready to write a new chapter in the long history of French valor.

And, finally, there were the Americans. They came from the farms of a vast heartland, the streets of glowing cities, and the forges of mighty industrial towns. Before the war, many had never ventured beyond their own community. Now they had come to offer their lives half a world from home.

This beach, codenamed Omaha, was defended by the Nazis with monstrous firepower, thousands and thousands of mines and spikes driven into the sand, so deeply. It was here that tens of thousands of the Americans came

One of those men in [Colonel George] Taylor’s 16th Regiment was Army medic Ray Lambert. Ray was only 23, but he had already earned three Purple Hearts and two Silver Stars fighting in North Africa and Sicily, where he and his brother Bill, no longer with us, served side by side.

In the early morning hours, the two brothers stood together on the deck of the USS Henrico, before boarding two separate Higgins landing craft. “If I don’t make it,” Bill said, “please, please take care of my family.” Ray asked his brother to do the same.

Of the 31 men on Ray’s landing craft, only Ray and 6 others made it to the beach. There were only a few of them left. They came to the sector right here below us. “Easy Red” it was called. Again and again, Ray ran back into the water. He dragged out one man after another. He was shot through the arm. His leg was ripped open by shrapnel. His back was broken. He nearly drowned.

He had been on the beach for hours, bleeding and saving lives, when he finally lost consciousness. He woke up the next day on a cot beside another badly wounded soldier. He looked over and saw his brother Bill. They made it. They made it. They made it.

At 98 years old, Ray is here with us today, with his fourth Purple Heart and his third Silver Star from Omaha. Ray, the free world salutes you. Thank you, Ray.

Trump related a few more real life stories about what is known as the Longest Day, unimaginably harrowing. God was with the Allied troops.

Trump concluded:

The men behind me will tell you that they are just the lucky ones. As one of them recently put it, “All the heroes are buried here.” But we know what these men did. We knew how brave they were. They came here and saved freedom, and then, they went home and showed us all what freedom is all about.

The American sons and daughters who saw us to victory were no less extraordinary in peace. They built families. They built industries. They built a national culture that inspired the entire world. In the decades that followed, America defeated communism, secured civil rights, revolutionized science, launched a man to the moon, and then kept on pushing to new frontiers. And, today, America is stronger than ever before.

Seven decades ago, the warriors of D-Day fought a sinister enemy who spoke of a thousand-year empire. In defeating that evil, they left a legacy that will last not only for a thousand years, but for all time — for as long as the soul knows of duty and honor; for as long as freedom keeps its hold on the human heart.

To the men who sit behind me, and to the boys who rest in the field before me, your example will never, ever grow old. Your legend will never tire. Your spirit — brave, unyielding, and true — will never die.

The blood that they spilled, the tears that they shed, the lives that they gave, the sacrifice that they made, did not just win a battle. It did not just win a war. Those who fought here won a future for our nation. They won the survival of our civilization. And they showed us the way to love, cherish, and defend our way of life for many centuries to come.

Today, as we stand together upon this sacred Earth, we pledge that our nations will forever be strong and united. We will forever be together. Our people will forever be bold. Our hearts will forever be loyal. And our children, and their children, will forever and always be free.

May God bless our great veterans. May God bless our Allies. May God bless the heroes of D-Day. And may God bless America.

The Q Tree has full coverage, including this 90-minute video of the day’s commemorations:

This is NBC’s video, which begins with an analysis of D-Day:

French president Emmanuel Macron also addressed the American veterans. I was in France at the time and watched part of his speech on BFMTV. It was highly evocative and really captured the idea of Americana. Whoever wrote it should get a pay rise. I was very moved by it. He spoke, as did Trump, of young soldiers from farms in the Midwest mixing with their comrades from Manhattan and New Jersey, writing their girlfriends farewell letters.

Afterwards, Macron shook hands with all the veterans and spoke with each individually. I’m not a Macron fan at all, but I have to give him credit for that.

Trump tweeted a short video recapping his day in Normandy:

This is the view of the Trumps’ departure, returning to Ireland before flying back to Washington:

Reflecting on D-Day, someone online posted this excellent graphic from Gab:

We should be so grateful for everything that God has given us — especially peace and freedom in the Western world.

However, it would also be prudent to look at how we have squandered the opportunities for our young people in peacetime. The safe space generation is not equipped to deal with the horrors of life such as it is.

May the good Lord grant us the wisdom to get us out of a navel-gazing attitude towards one of genuine progress and ingenuity, such as that of the post-war years.

In closing, let us give thanks to the Greatest Generation for their immense courage and bravery.

The Royal British Legion, in their pamphlets and website, have much historical and personal remembrances about the Second World War as well as subsequent conflicts involving British servicemen.

It was only a few years ago that the last two old soldiers from the Great War went to their eternal rest. Both lived well beyond their centenaries.

Soon, it will be the turn of those veterans who fought at the Normandy Landings on D-Day. As my more regular readers know, a banquet will be held in St Paul’s Cathedral for them. The BBC show Great British Menu has been running for several weeks. By now, we know the names of the chefs from around the country who will be preparing what everyone hopes will be a grand repast for these men and women who fought for our freedom.

The Royal British Legion site introduces D-Day as follows (emphases in the original):

The 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings is 6 June 2014. Those landings were pivotal in drawing the Second World War to a close as well as being one of the most ambitious attacks in military history.

Another page recalls how the day had begun to be planned as far back as 1941. In part:

After the defeat of most West European countries in 1940, only Britain remained fighting against Nazi Germany and its allies in Europe. Standing against the Nazi empire was one thing, being able to defeat her was another. Victory would only come if the Western Allies and the USSR fought in Europe itself. To do that, Britain, its Empire and Commonwealth and the US would have to cross the sea and land back into West Europe whilst the Soviet forces battled in Eastern Europe.The build up for that invasion took time.

The Legion also provides a list of 20 facts we should know about D-Day. These include:

1. D-Day is a term traditionally used by the Armed Forces for when an operation, such as an attack begins. The ‘D’ just stands for day – the day before D-Day was known as “D-1”, and the day after D-Day was “D+1”. Prior to June 1944, there would have been lots of D-Days. Now it is generally just used to refer to the allied attack in Normandy on 6 June 1944 and the start of Operation Overlord.

2. Operation Overlord was the codename given to the whole invasion of North West Europe. Governments and Armed Forces use code words to describe plans and operations to try and keep them secret or to stop different plans from being confused. Included in Operation Overlord was Operation Neptune which was the main part of the attack lasting from 6 June to 30 June 1944.

7. Normandy was chosen because it was the most unlikely spot. Although there were German beach defences there, they were not as strong as those at other areas. To get round the problem of attacking via a port, the Allies invented and then built temporary harbours – called Mulberry Harbours.

10. In Britain, in the build-up to D-Day (code named Bolero), the whole of the south of England resembled one large army camp. Civilian travel was restricted in some areas, as was diplomatic travel. Journalists were monitored and most troops were under constant training.

14. The Allied Forces landed troops along the Normandy coast, stretching approximately 25 to 30 miles in length. The area was divided up into 5 sections and given the codes of Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword. The US troops landed at Utah and Omaha, the British at Gold and Sword and the Canadians at Juno.

18. Anne Frank wrote about D-Day in her diary on 6 June 1944 after hearing the news on a secret radio.

“This is D-Day, came the announcement over the British radio. The invasion has begun! According to the German news, British parachute troops have landed on the French coast. British landing craft are in battle with the German Navy, says the BBC.

“Great commotion in the ‘Secret Annexe’! Would the long-awaited liberation that has been talked of so much but which still seems too wonderful, too much like a fairy-tale, ever come true? Could we be granted victory this year, 1944? We don’t know yet, but hope is revived within us; it gives us fresh courage, and makes us strong again.”

20. D-Day, 6 June 1944, was the largest amphibious (sea to land) invasion in the history of warfare. There hasn’t been any operation as ambitious either before or since. In the months that followed D-Day, the Allies became bogged down in battles and German counter-attacks, but they were never forced back into the sea or removed from Normandy, making D-Day and the invasion of Normandy a huge success.

This pictorial from the French news site l’Internaute guides us through what happened on the day. (If you get an ad, just click on ‘accéder immediatement au site’.)

Various thoughts are running through my mind right now. Thanksgiving that our troops were providentially guided, scepticism that we could accomplish this now, along with a prayer that we never have such a need again.

Thank you to British and other Allied forces for working together and keeping up the good fight which led to victory and peace in Europe. May we never forget their sacrifice.

BBC logoToday, four of us — three English and one hybrid — discussed the BBC’s Great British Menu, now in its ninth season.

This year, British chefs from across the UK — some who have at least one Michelin star to their name — are competing to cook for the remaining veterans of D-Day, who are able to attend a banquet at St Paul’s Cathedral, London. A good friend of mine remarked that he hoped the actual banquet would not take place in the cathedral proper. I agree. We shall have to wait and see.

SpouseMouse and I found the first four weeks lacklustre. Does one seriously expect the veterans —  ‘old soldiers’ in UK parlance — to eat cheap (albeit tasty) cuts of meat or fish such as pigeon, gurnard, or braising steak?

We’re talking about now elderly men who gave up their youth to fight for our freedom. Yet, oddly, ‘freedom’ or ‘liberty’ is never mentioned by the chefs cooking on this show. Granted, the chefs are young enough to be the veterans’ grandchildren, but there seems to be a disconnect as to the signifcance of D-Day itself.

D-Day refers to the Normandy landings of the Second World War which took place on Tuesday, June 6, 1944.

It was an unbelievably fraught time of anxiety, adrenaline, fear and courage combined with the spirit of Winston Churchill.

Twelve countries assisted Churchill’s United Kingdom. This post is not meant to describe what exactly happened. However, the Allies’ efforts ended in a magnificent victory for both freedom and liberty.

So, let us consider this so-called banquet. The Friday judges — the usual Great British Menu trio of Prue Leith, Matthew Fort and Oliver Peyton along with civilians and military personnel who remembered or took part in the Second World War — have to decide if each dish from a traditionally four-course menu is, as they say, ‘banquet worthy’.

Frankly, many — but not all — of the offerings from the previous four weeks have been dreadful.

A number of cheffy contestants have said, ‘I borrowed my nan’s [‘grandmother’s’, please!] recipe for [something awful]‘.

These youngsters, as they appear, think they are novel in giving Britain’s finest men (and probably a few women) dishes they have probably eaten since being demobbed in 1944 to now.

Honestly, would anyone want humble dishes at a banquet?

So far, the only team of chefs who seem to fit the bill with banquet worthy food are those from the South East of England and London.

All of the aforementioned people discussing this show, myself included, wondered what these chefs would offer grandparents or parents celebrating their 50th or 60th wedding anniversaries. Probably lobster, caviar and all the very best meats or fish, accompaniments and desserts.

Whilst long-standing wedding anniversaries are certainly significant milestones in life, especially today, frankly, they do not compare with the British fighting alongside their Allies from around the globe for the freedom and liberty of the Western world.

Viewers’ hopes — at least those of whom I know — rest on a four-course banquet which recalls memories of wartime, Normandy landings and victory. However, we all hope that the chefs will really give these veterans the huge culinary thank you which they richly deserve.

A banquet alone does not suffice — and other celebrations are planned — but a superbly sumptuous feast will go some way to express a nation’s gratitude to a group of seniors who have seen more of life and death than many of us ever will.

Three weeks remain before we find out the results. May the best and most dignified dishes win.

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