80th Anniversary of D Day

Today, on behalf of the Royal Naval Association, Spalding Branch, I attended Ayscoughfee Gardens in Spalding to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of D Day at which time I was humbled to be asked by the Chairman, Keith Crawford, MBE to say a few words:

“Ladies, Gentlemen & Shipmates,

Today, the 6th of June 2024 marks a significant milestone in our shared history – the 80th Anniversary of the D-Day landings.  As we gather here to commemorate this momentous occasion, we pay tribute to the bravery, sacrifice and indomitable spirit of those who participated in one of the most pivotal operations of the Second World War.

The D-Day landing was the largest naval, air and land operation in history.  The operation involved hundreds of thousands of allied troops from the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada who left their families not knowing if they would return. Many of those men came from Spalding and South Holland. Their destination was Normandy, France to liberate Europe from the grip of tyranny.  We all know what happened.  These men faced unimaginable challenges as they stormed the beaches under a hail of enemy fire. Many lost their lives, but many were saved and were brought back to dear old Blighty.

We must never forget the extraordinary courage of the soldiers who fought and died on the beaches of Normandy, as well as the countless others who supported them from the air, sea and home front.

Today, as we honour the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice during WWII, and particularly the D-Day landings, we also reaffirm our commitment to upholding the values of freedom, democracy and justice for which they fought so valiantly.  It gives me great pleasure in representing the RNA Spalding Branch in paying our respects to these brave men.

Large military operations are given a code name.  The two code names that come to mind in respect of the D-Day landings are Neptune and Overlord.  The planning behind these operations was brilliantly achieved and the allies started to achieve their goal in taking back Western Europe from the Nazis.

The Spalding Branch of the Royal Naval Association recognise that it was a combined operation of sea power, air supremacy and all those men who stormed the beaches facing down incredible odds with unwavering resolve.


Let us also remember the survivors of D-Day whose stories of resilience and heroism continue to inspire us.  Their steadfast determination to overcome adversity serves as a reminder of the human spirit’s capacity for the bravery and endurance in the face of adversity.

As I have previously mentioned this military operation was the biggest ever mounted.  It involved 4,000 ships, 132,500 troops.  Your Spalding Branch of the Royal Naval Association under the Chairmanship of Keith Crawford MBE is deeply honoured to have the privilege of remembering these brave souls who started the beginning of the end of the war in Europe and hopefully a long and everlasting peace.

The Royal Navy will participate in the lighting of beacons to pay tribute to those who took part in the D-Day landings.  We commemorate this 80th Anniversary, let us vow to keep alive the memory of those who fought and died for the cause of freedom.  Their sacrifice will forever be etched in our hearts and minds, serving as a beacon of hope for future generations.

I say again, shipmates, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

The Royal Naval prayer was read by Sandra Deacon – Billington

O Eternal Lord God – who alone spreadest out the heavens
And rulest the raging of the sea.
Who has compassed the waters with bounds,
Until day and night come to an end.
Be pleased to receive unto they Almighty and great protection.
The persons of us thy servants,
And the Fleet which we serve.

Revd Barbara Hutchinson presided over the commemorative service.

“Almighty God, in you alone we find safety and peace,
We commend to your gracious keeping,
All the men and women who serve in the Navy, the Army and the Air Force.
As they face danger and put their lives at risk,
So that others might live in safety.
Defend them day by day by your heavenly powers and help
them know that they can never pass beyond the reach of
your care.  Strengthen them in their trials and tribulations,
give them courage to face the perils that are set before them.
Keep live in them and us your vision of peace for which we
seek and serve.

As we remember all those who took part in the D Day
Landings, we give thanks for all who returned to be with
their families and friends.
As we do this we commend to you all who have lost their
lives serving their Country in order to make this world a
better place.

Hold close all who suffered and still do suffer in many ways.