Flags raised and services held to mark 80th anniversary of D-Day

Marking D-Day 80 in Birchington Photo Alan Green

Flags have been raised and services held to mark the 80th anniversary of World War Two’s D-Day operations.

The Normandy landings, referred to as Operation Overlord and Neptune (for the planned amphibious attack), but collectively known as D-Day was meticulously planned and involved allies from all over the world, including sailors, soldiers, and airmen from the USA, Canada, Australia, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Greece, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland and others.

Marking D-Day in Birchington Photo Alan Green

The invasion on June 6, 1944, is now described as a turning point in the war and often credited for shortening the war by several years.

The Allies used over 5,000 ships and landing craft to land more than 150,000 troops on five beaches in Normandy.

The landings began the liberation of German-occupied France from Nazi control and laid the foundations of the Allied victory on the Western Front.

D-Day 80 in Westgate Photo Denise Bottali

To mark the anniversary there will be beacon lightings at 9.15pm today ( June 6 ) across the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, UK Overseas Territories and on the five beaches in Normandy, France, in celebration of the ‘light of peace that emerged from the darkness of war’

National Fish and Chip Day, is also moving from its traditional Friday slot to Thursday 6th June, in support of the D-Day 80th celebrations.

Photo Denise Bottali

This morning flags have been raised and services held across the isle including Westgate, where there was an Act of Remembrance at the War Memorial on Sea Road, followed by refreshments at St Saviour’s Church.

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In Birchington flags were raised at Dog Acre, The Veterans’ Association and Birchington Square.

Photo Alan Green

In Margate the Mayor and Charter Trustees arranged the raising of the Union Flag with  the official D-Day commemorative flag, Margate’s flag, and the French Tricolour in honour of the visit from the Mayor of Dunkerque to light Margate’s beacon at 9.15pm in Fort Hill.

In Broadstairs a service was held at RBL’s Maurice House where standards were raised and wreaths laid by guests including Broadstairs mayor Mike Garner and Margate mayor Jack Packman.

Photo Jack Packman

In Minster there was a wreath laying ceremony at noon at the village flagpole and in Ramsgate Labour parliamentary hopeful Polly Billington with Mayor of Ramsgate Pat Moore and Cllr Steve Albon attended a commemoration event.

Ms Billington said: “Today is an important day to remember the huge sacrifices previous generations of service people have made to establish freedom across Europe and defend our freedoms at home. We all owe them a huge debt.

“It is also important that our veterans have confidence that the veterans covenant is recognised and implemented. As your MP, I will campaign to ensure all veterans in East Thanet are able to access the public services they need.”

Labour’s candidate for Herne Bay and Sandwich is also the lead for veterans on Thanet District Council. Helen Whitehead said:”Today we both commemorate and remember the collective sacrifices and bravery that mark the very best of our society at the very worst of times.

“My great grandfather fought in WW1; my grandfather in WW2. Both made sacrifices and suffered losses that I cannot imagine; and today we gather together to recognise the service of those who risked, lost and embody so much of the best of humanity.

“Today we unite in remembrance, respect and recognition of sacrifices past, and honour the memories of those who gave and risked so much by working to create a world free from conflict and pain.”


Meanwhile, Conservative candidate for East Thanet, Helen Harrison, attended a fish and chip lunch at Cliffsend Village Hall. The event, and Tommy installations around the village, have been organised by parish councillor Beryl Harrison (no relation).

We will share more photos after the beacon lighting events.

Find the details for this evening’s lighting events across the isle on the link below:

D Day 80th anniversary commemorations in Thanet

Tommy and servicemen silhouettes in Cliffsend to mark 80th anniversary of D-Day


  1. A very important day, sadly hijacked by politicians for smiling photo ops.

    Last year, I went on a 5 day trip of Normandy, visiting all the important memorials, beaches and key towns. Well worth doing.

    • Be honest – if politicians hadn’t attended events, you’d have criticised them for not being there.
      Also – who do you think made sure these large events were organised?
      That’d be local councillors (politicians).
      They’re not all bad are they.

      • No, they’re not all bad (otherwise I wouldn’t vote for any of ’em). But do you REALLY think this was the time and place for smiley photos?

  2. The only heroes I have ,the men and women who fought World War 2 and beyond and those serving today ,to keep all of us safe at all times

  3. Well, this is novel but I agree with Peter the Pink! It’s offensive to see Labour’s PollyB spouting election campaigning at this event.
    I wonder how many ex-service personnel require health and welfare services as a result of being ordered into Blair’s illegal war?
    I’m also surprised that IoTN allowed PollyB’s “vote for me” comment to pass the editor.

    • I’m glad Kathy did include it, as it shows Polly in her true light (compare Helen Whitehead’s FB page on the event she attended in Westgate, not a selfie in sight).

    • I see by your comments you were not at the flag rising at Ramsgate.
      Polly Bilingham only spoke to people and said who she was. there was no “Vote for me ” comments.
      It was not a political thing, it was a remeberance and tales of loved ones during Dunkirk evacuation which included my Father -in law. Who went back after D-Day into Belgium France and Germany.

      • PollyB is quoted thus:
         “As your MP, I will campaign to ensure all veterans in East Thanet are able to access the public services they need.”
        That is a “vote for me” statement. I may not gave been at the service but I did read the article.

      • Patricia. The article quoted what was said. Maybe it needs clarifying. Most people will believe what is said.
        Which is why what you have said is confusing.
        The event was to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day. You speak as if you were there and then state that it was a remembrance and tales of the Dunkirk evacuation which was 4 years earlier.
        My Grandfather was also evacuated from Dunkirk and was in Italy during the D-Day campaign. At the time he and his comrades were accused of being “D-Day dodgers” supposedly by conservative MP Lady Astor. So, politicians saying the wrong thing at the wrong time is nothing new.
        The only thing that he ever spoke about his time in the army was the number of his “mates” that died in Italy while dodging D-Day. He never ever voted again.

  4. It’s important to mark D-Day, the extreme sacrifices and effort. And this is the very reason to mark other events of June 1944 that were as crucial to defeating fascist forces.

    D-Day forces faced 58 German divisions, positioned in France, Belgium and the Netherlands, Russia faced 180.

    Also D-Day was probably not the turning point to WW2.  The Soviet armies had already inflicted defeats on Germany and its allies at Moscow, Leningrad, the Crimea, Stalingrad and the Kursk bulge and North Africa was free of German and Italian forces.

    By June 1944 the Soviet Army was launching its offensive that destroyed 28 German divisions, the biggest defeat in German military history, with around 450,000 German casualties.

    By August the Allied forces had taken Normandy while the Red Army were through Poland, East Prussia and Romania, Yugoslavian and Greek forces had liberated their own countries.

    Imphal and Kohima battles saw the Japanese army defeated in its aim to invade India and was the springboard for the Fourteenth Army’s subsequent re-conquest of Burma.

    US forces defeated the Japanese navy off Saipan and liberated Rome but the Pacific and Italian campaigns were far from being won.

    So, while we honour the D-Day landings let us remember the extraordinary sacrifices and victories elswhere.

    Non Pasaran!

  5. Glad it was a nice day and a chance for us all to reflect on just how lucky we are and be thankful to those who made it so.

  6. What I find really distasteful was Margate saw fit to finish with a firework display.

    It should have been about remembering these very brave men and women. To celebrate with a fireworks display to me is very disrespectful. What next margate ? Fireworks on remembrance day?

      • Fireworks are for celebrations. This was for remembering those brave men and women.

        I believe Fireworks were inappropriate. But carry on with your rude remarks.

        There’s a real problem with this area. People who disagree with someone find it impossible to say so without being rude.

        • I agree totally, Mr. X.

          Ever seen the ‘Last Post’ at the Menin Gate in Ypres? It draws big crowds and is both impressive and touching – but they specifically request there to be no applause afterwards (though of course, there are always a few idiots who do).

        • Yes the fireworks were for celebrating those who have lost their lives on D Day,and fireworks and beacons were lite, all over the UK and further a field to celebrate that fact ,after the sombre services that were held in Normandy. May those who passed rest in peace

      • Am I only allowed to belive or have an opinion on this if I have served with the forces ?

        You have a strange idea of these brave men and women fought though. Freedom of speech which you seem to have a problem with.

        To answer your question no I haven’t served in the forces. Members of my family have and still do.

        My great grandad was award the MM in WW1, I belive he wouldn’t of seen it a reason to celebrate with fireworks. He couldn’t serve in WW2 as he lost a leg thanks to WW1.

        Going by your logic I can commit on anything unless I have done what I’m committing on. Just a bizarre point of view.

  7. Conservative candidate was too busy to attend any of these important events other than the one in Cliffsend.
    She wasn’t seen anywhere else.
    While it wasn’t about campaigning – it was a chance to speak with members of the community on an important day.
    The fact she couldn’t be bothered speaks volumes.

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