Remembering Together: D-Day
The Royal British Legion and Poppyscotland are asking communities across the country to 'Remember Together' in tribute to the service, friendship and collaboration of the men and women of Britain, the Commonwealth and the Allied nations who fought together throughout the Second World War.
At the heart of the ‘Remember Together’ campaign, is a series of stories that celebrate the men and women of many nations that fought together in the build-up to D-Day 75 years ago. They highlight the collaboration between the Allied nations and the Commonwealth across key events before, during and after the Second World War.
D-Day is seen as one of the most important battles in history; planned for years it brought together troops from 13 countries in the largest amphibious landing ever seen. The operation marked the beginning of the liberation of France and Western Europe and as well as military expertise, relied on the knowledge of meteorologists, scientists and inventors.
Operation Neptune, the codename for the D-Day landings, involved over 5,000 ships, almost 11,000 aeroplanes and more than 130,000 ground troops. The landings were shrouded in secrecy with decoy operations used to convince Hitler that the planned invasion would be aimed at Norway or the Pas-de-Calais.
As a result of these operations, Hitler mistakenly moved troops from France to Norway and away from Normandy and towards Pas-de-Calais.
On the 6 June 1944, just after midnight, more than 23,000 Allied paratroopers were dropped into Normandy to provide tactical support to the troops landing on the beaches. Around dawn, the Allied fleet began firing along the Normandy beaches and at 07:30 the Allied armies had landed across five beaches along 50 miles of the coastline
Allied forces suffered nearly 10,000 casualties on D-Day, of which 4,000 were fatalities. Troops, nurses, engineers, meteorologists, SOE agents or logistical support all sacrificed to secure an Allied foothold in mainland Europe for the first time since 1941.
Success on D-Day was crucial and was only won as a result of international collaboration, planning and ingenuity. From the landings, the Allies had a springboard from which they were able to liberate Western Europe.
10 things you might not know about D-Day
The Royal British Legion’s D-Day stories page is packed with individual memories of the operation and stories about the commemoration of the 75th anniversary in June 2019. But the page also has a fascinating list of 10 things you might not know about D-Day.
D-Day is used by the Armed Forces to mark the beginning of any operation and before the Normandy landings there would have been many D-Days. Only later did it become synonymous with the beginning of Operation Overlord.
- Many nations
There weren’t just British and American troops involved in D-Day. Forces also included sailors, soldiers, and airmen from Canada, Australia, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Greece, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland and others.
- Bad weather
The D-Day invasion was originally planned for the day before. But the weather on June 5th was so poor that ships couldn’t set sail and the whole operation had to be postponed until the following day.
- Hitler’s defences
The D-Day landings involved breaching Hitler’s Atlantic Wall – a series of concrete turret defences and anti-landing obstacles running for more than 1,600 miles from Norway to Spain. Much of the wall is still intact.
- Unlikely location
Normandy was thought to be one of the least likely places for the Allies to attack as it had one of the furthest crossing distances from the UK, and no port. Two artificial harbours were designed and built to make the operation possible.
- D-Day inventions
The first of its kind, the invasion required new equipment. The best-known D-Day inventions were the iconic landing crafts, which had a ramp at the front that dropped into the sea to let troops disembark without scrambling over the side.
- England’s South coast
The South coast of England was transformed into an enormous army camp in preparation for the D-Day landings. Travel was restricted and journalists were constantly monitored in the area that marked jump-off point for the attack on Normandy.
- Fake news
Misinformation operations confused German Intelligence about the location and timing of the invasion. Fake plans were leaked, fake camps set up and fake radio messages sent. Allied forces even bombed Calais on the morning of the June 6th.
- Air attack
Although D-Day is known for the Normandy landings, the first part of the invasion was conducted by air. British and American air-borne divisions landed behind enemy lines, capturing the Caen Canal Bridge to block German reinforcements.
- Secret annexe
Anne Frank was aware of the attack in her hiding place. Listening on a secret radio, she wrote “Hope is revived within us.” Although the invasion encouraged her and her family to carry on, her hiding place was found by the Nazis and she never saw the liberation.
Our fundraising partnership
This year is the fourth year of Golden Charter’s fundraising partnership with The Royal British Legion and its sister organisation, Poppyscotland.
Suzanne Grahame, Golden Charter CEO, said: “Over the past three years, we have raised over £280,000 for the Armed Forces community with the help of our network of independent funeral directors. There is no better way to honour all of those who have served and continue to serve in the Armed Forces than to support the transformative work of The Royal British Legion, which is improving the lives of servicemen and woman every day.”
A £25 donation will be made to The Royal British Legion or Poppyscotland for every eligible funeral plan sold by Golden Charter or any of our network of over 2,900 independent funeral directors across.
All funds raised by The Royal British Legion and Poppyscotland will help provide valuable support for the Armed Forces community – including veterans, serving men and women and their families.