Swanage remembers D-Day sacrifice 80 years on

The Royal Corps of Signals marched through Swanage in Dorset and attended a service at the war memorial as part of the town’s D Day commemorations.

The event on Saturday 8th June 2024 also marked 40 years since the British Army first assisted Swanage Railway and 20 years since Swanage Town Council offered the liberty of Swanage to the Royal Corps of Signals.

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D- Day 80th anniversary with Royal Corps of Signals

A spectacular display on Swanage seafront with the Royal Corps of Signals

D- Day 80th anniversary with Royal Corps of Signals
Timothy Crabb

Swanage town mayor Tina Foster takes pride in inspecting the troops

Swanage town mayor inspected the troops

The liberty parade started at 9.30 am from Gilbert Road with around 85 soldiers from the Royal Corps of Signals marching down Kings Road West, Rempstone Road, Victoria Avenue, until assembling at Shore Road where the Swanage town mayor Tina Foster inspected the troops.

Those soldiers who took part in D-Day in 1944 were remembered, and those taking part in the commemoration in 2024 were thanked.

The Royal Corps of Signals, based in Blandford in Dorset, continued marching along Shore Road, Institute Road, the High Street and Kings Road East before making their way up to the war memorial which looks out over Swanage Bay.

D- Day 80th anniversary with Royal Corps of Signals
Andrew PM Wright

Marching along Kings Road

D- Day 80th anniversary with Royal Corps of Signals
Timothy Crabb

The Royal Corps of Signals in Gilbert Road

D- Day 80th anniversary with Royal Corps of Signals

And parading along Institute Road

“Largest amphibious invasion in the history of warfare”

Those attending the service of commemoration to mark the 80 anniversary of D-Day were welcomed by the chair of Swanage Royal British Legion Steve Churchill who said:

“Today is the opportunity to remember the service and sacrifice of all those that fought on the beaches in Normandy in 1944.

“The largest amphibious invasion in the history of warfare took some 150,000 troops to the beaches in Normandy.

“D-Day was the start of Operation Overlord. On D-Day 6th June 1944, Allied forces launched a combined naval, air and land assault on Nazi-occupied France…

“Allied airborne forces parachuted into drop zones across Northern France. Ground troops landed across five assault beaches – Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword. By the end of the day, the Allies had established a foothold along the coast and could begin their advance into France.”

As many as 4,400 troops died from the combined Allied forces on D-Day alone. Some 9,000 were wounded or missing.

D-Day 80th anniversary Service at Swanage war memorial 8 June 2024

The welcoming address was delivered by chair of Swanage Royal British Legion Steve Churchill (left) and the service of commoration led by ministers John Cooper (middle) and Jo Levasier (right)

D- Day 80th anniversary with Royal Corps of Signals
Timothy Crabb

Wreaths were laid by president of Swanage Royal British Legion John Corben and Swanage town mayor Tina Foster

D- Day 80th anniversary with Royal Corps of Signals
Timothy Crabb

There was the Last Post and two minutes silence

D- Day 80th anniversary with Royal Corps of Signals
Timothy Crabb

Piper Peter McCarthy from Swanage played the bagpipes

Swanage Railway special event

Following the service the Royal Corps of Signals headed over to Swanage station where the heritage railway was holding a special weekend showcasing eight Bulleid Pacific locomotives together in steam for the first time since 1967.

Designed by Southern Railway chief mechanical engineer Oliver Vaughan Snell Bulleid during World War Two, the Bulleid Pacifics hauled trains from London to Corfe Castle and Swanage between the late 1940s and 1966.

On Thursday 6th June 2024, Swanage Railway held a ‘Strictly D-Day’ preview event to mark the 80th anniversary of the Normandy landings with ‘Battle of Britain’ class locomotives inn operation.

D- Day 80th anniversary with Royal Corps of Signals

The Royal Corps of Signals relax at Swanage Railway after the commemoration service

Six Bulleid Pacifics at Swanage Railway
Andrew PM Wright

The rare sight of six Bulleid Pacific locomotives together as part of Swanage Railway’s Strictly Bulleid Two event

D- Day 80th anniversary with Royal Corps of Signals
Andrew PM Wright

The soldiers and all the volunteers who helped marshall the event

Fort Henry service in Studland

In Studland, events to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day were held on Thursday 6th June 2024.

This included a commemorative service at Fort Henry, the bunker where King George VI, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and senior military officials including Commander of the Allied Forces Dwight D Eisenhower watched the military preparations for D-Day take place.

A beacon was also lit on top of Ballard Down as part of a national lighting of beacons to celebrate D-Day eighty years on.

Unfortunately strong winds and the risk of the fire spreading, meant that Swanage fire service had to be called out to extinguish the flames!

Fort Henry D-Day 80th anniversary service
Dave Corben

D-Day 80 years on commerative service at Fort Henry in Studland

Studland D-Day beacon extinguised by fire crew
Swanage Fire Station

The lighting of the beacon on Ballard Down didn’t go quite to plan!

Watch the Royal Corps of Signals marching through Swanage

Watch the Swanage D-Day 80 service of commemoration

More photos

D- Day 80th anniversary with Royal Corps of Signals
Matthew Snowden
D- Day 80th anniversary with Royal Corps of Signals
Andrew PM Wright
D- Day 80th anniversary with Royal Corps of Signals
D- Day 80th anniversary with Royal Corps of Signals
D- Day 80th anniversary with Royal Corps of Signals
D- Day 80th anniversary with Royal Corps of Signals
Matthew Snowden
D- Day 80th anniversary with Royal Corps of Signals
Matthew Snowden
D- Day 80th anniversary with Royal Corps of Signals
Timothy Crabb

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