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Ilkley prepares for 80th anniversary of D-Day

The Royal British Legion, supported by Ilkley Town Council, is joining the national commemoration of D-Day 80 on Thursday (6th June 2024). 


A spokesperson for the Royal British Legion said: “That was the day in 1944, 80 years ago, when the Allies started the invasion of Europe which lead to the defeat of Hitler.  It was the largest seaborne invasion in history.  Along with the associated airborne operations, it marked the beginning of the liberation of France and western Europe.  The commemoration is an opportunity to pause and reflect on giving thanks and honouring the memory of those who gave their lives to defend our democratic freedoms.” 


“Ilkley played a part in the invasion.  It was a base camp for a group of Canadian forces as they travelled to join the ships around Portsmouth.  In addition, seven Ilkley residents died during the invasion.  Corporal John Edmund Hoyle, RAC, died on 10th June; both Sapper James Hampshire, RE and 2nd Lieutenant Edward Ugarte, RA died of their wounds on 18th June; Lieutenant Lewis Marten, RA was killed on 6th July; Bombardier Rayburn Oldreive, RA perished on 11th July, and Fusilier Jack Hodgson RNF died in active service on 14th August.  The first of our lads to die was a non-combatant, Kenneth Mortimer, a member of the St Johns Ambulance Brigade and the Royal Army Medical Corps.  He drowned in the Channel on D-Day morning - the sea was rough and while disembarking from a landing craft he was engulfed by a large wave. He was almost dead when rescued and failed to respond to artificial respiration.


“All will be remembered when we meet at the Memorial Gardens on Thursday, 6th June.” 


The event will start at about 8.30pm with the Two Rivers Band playing popular songs from the time and the local Air Cadets providing appropriate music.  Wreaths will be laid and the programme will then follow the national plan. 


The Town Crier will make the National D-Day 80 Proclamation.  The reading of the International Tribute at 9.15pm will take place while a special D-Day 80 Beacon is lit, at the same time as hundreds of beacons world-wide.


Earlier in the day Ilkley Bandstand will commemorates D-Day with music from the era, further details will be announced on the Facebook page Ilkley Bandstand – Official.

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