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D-Day 80th anniversary LIVE: Normandy beaches host military displays to remember brave veterans as King Charles and Joe Biden join commemorations


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King Charles will join world leaders including US President Joe Biden in France today to mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy.

The military operation to liberate Nazi-occupied France on June 6, 1944, was the largest by air, land and sea ever attempted and resulted in the deaths of an estimated 4,000 to 9,000 troops.

Events including military displays and parades are taking place over two days to commemorate the 80th anniversary with world leaders gathering on a beach which was used as a landing area by Allied soldiers.

Follow MailOnline’s live coverage below

President Biden arrives in Normandy for D-Day ceremony

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrive at the Caen-Carpiquet Airport in Carpiquet, France, enroute to ceremonies to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day, Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Normandy. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

US President Joe Biden has arrived in Normandy for the D-Day commemorations.

He was just spotted getting off Air Force One alongside First lady Jill Biden at Caen Carpiquet Airport in France.

The president will be attending commemoration ceremonies throughout the day

Pictured: Royal Marines recreate D-Day beach landing

A beach landing by the Royal Marines of 47 Commando and civilians at Asnelles before their annual 'yomp' to Port-en-Bessin, in Normandy, France, to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings. Picture date: Thursday June 6, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story MEMORIAL DDay. Photo credit should read: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

Royal Marines have recreated a D-Day beach landing to pay tribute to those who took part in the historic invasion.

Soldiers aboard a landing craft waded into the sea while a piper played on the beach at Asnelles

Spectators clapped as the troops came ashore, some carrying wreaths.

Major Andy Atkinson, Officer Commanding 47 Commando Royal Marines, told spectators lined on the beach wall and grass on the hill overlooking the sea that he served in Iraq and Afghanistan but ‘nothing compares’ to D-Day.

‘Where we are standing now is smoke and fire,’ he said describing the reality of the operation 80 years ago.

Sunak to miss major 80th anniversary ceremony on Omaha Beach

RETRANSMITTING ADDING NAME Prime Minister Rishi Sunak meets D-Day veteran Roy Haywood after the UK's national commemorative event for the 80th anniversary of D-Day, hosted by the Ministry of Defence on Southsea Common in Portsmouth, Hampshire. Picture date: Wednesday June 5, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story MEMORIAL DDay. Photo credit should read: Leon Neal/PA Wire

Rishi Sunak will miss the major international ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day but Sir Keir Starmer will mingle with world leaders at the Omaha Beach event.

The Prime Minister is attending events in Normandy including speaking at the major British ceremony, but will not be present alongside leaders including France’s Emmanuel Macron and US President Joe Biden at the international gathering.

With the general election campaign in full swing, the Tory leader will head back to the UK – but his rival Sir Keir will be at the high-profile international event in Normandy.

A Tory source played down the diplomatic impact of the PM’s absence, pointing out he will see Mr Macron, Mr Biden, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and other key leaders at the G7 summit in Italy next week.

The Prince of Wales and senior ministers will represent the UK at the international event, joining more than 25 heads of state and veterans for the official ceremony on Omaha Beach, Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer.

‘Remembering my grandad’: Tributes to D-Day veterans on social media

Britons have been paying tribute to their relatives on social media this morning to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

Many people have posted to say they are remembering their grandparents and ancestors.

Here is just a selection we can show you:

British Legion chief – Anniversary is likely the last major one for ‘sprightly’ D-Day veterans

Re-enactors on Gold Beach in Arromanches at sunrise in Normandy, France, to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings. Picture date: Thursday June 6, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story MEMORIAL DDay. Photo credit should read: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

For D-Day veterans, today’s commemorations to mark 80 years since the military operation to liberate Nazi-occupied France are likely going to be the last major anniversary they will attend, according to the director-general of the Royal British Legion.

Mark Atkinson said it felt ‘momentous’ to be in Normandy today with surviving veterans but admitted those with living memories of the event may pass away in the coming years.

It does feel momentous to be here on the 80th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy that followed

They’re incredibly sprightly – we’ve got a group with us who are arranging between 98 and 103 years of age, all coming in on the beaches down here.”

The next one will be 85 (years), the brutal truth is there simply won’t be many veterans left.

But it’s our job at the Royal British Legion to make sure that that service is remembered.

It wasn’t until after the thundering guns and screams of men on the beaches of northern France grew quiet that Les Underwood knew he had taken part in the D-Day landings.

The Royal Navy gunner was one of 160,000 men sailing in a vast armada of 3,000 landing craft, 2,500 ships and 500 ancillary craft and merchant vessels, tasked with launching the liberation of Europe.

Describing the military operation as the ‘privilege of his life’, the 98-year-old still recalls with vivid clarity what he saw and heard as the allied assault began that day.

Read his story here as well as other D-Day heroes reported by Cameron Roy, Sam Merriman and Amogh George:

Today is about ‘commemoration, not celebration’

Re-enactors on Gold Beach in Arromanches at sunrise in Normandy, France, to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings. Picture date: Thursday June 6, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story MEMORIAL DDay. Photo credit should read: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

Former UK ambassador to France Lord Peter Ricketts is in Normandy this morning for the D-Day 80th anniversary.

Remembering all those who died, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme:

It’s commemoration, certainly not celebration.

After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, commemorations have taken on a new significance, according to Lord Ricketts, with President Putin not invited to this year’s remembrance events.

‘What Russia has done since then makes it impossible for a senior Russian representative to be here,’ he said.

Pictured: Farage joins re-enactors on Gold Beach

Leader of Reform UK Nigel Farage on Gold Beach in Arromanches in Normandy, France, to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings. Picture date: Thursday June 6, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story MEMORIAL DDay. Photo credit should read: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

Reform Party UK leader Nigel Farage walked on Gold Beach at sunrise during a private visit to Normandy this morning.

He posed with re-enactors on Gold Beach in Arromanches in Normandy, France, to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landing.

Mr Farage tweeted on the eve of the 80th anniversary.

Jonathan Mayo, author of D-Day: Minute by Minute, has written a blow by blow account of the operation as seen through the eyes of people who were there – from soldiers to French villagers to journalists.

Piper – ‘humbling and privileged experience’

ARROMANCHES-LES-BAINS, FRANCE - JUNE 06: Pipe Major Trevor Macey-Lillie of the Scots Royal Artillery plays a lament as he arrives on Gold Beach in a WWII landing craft at 0726, the exact time 80 years ago that British troops stepped on to the beaches of Normandy and Piper Bill Millin lead them ashore under heavy fire playing Highland Laddie" "The Road to the Isles" and "All The Blue Bonnets Are Over The Border" as his comrades fell around him, on June 06, 2024 in Arromanches-les-Bains, France. June 6th is the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings which saw 156,000 troops from the allied countries including the United Kingdom and the United States join forces to launch an audacious attack on the beaches of Normandy, these assaults are credited with the eventual defeat of Nazi Germany. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

The military piper who played a lament on the bagpipes in a tradition to recreate the exact moment thousands of British troops disembarked onto French beaches has described it as a ‘humbling and privileged experience’.

Major Trevor Macey-Lillie (pictured above), piper with the Scottish gunners, performed the lament at Gold Beach in Arromanches at sunrise today.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, he said:

I was here on the 75th anniversary, and I was asked to come back for the 80th.

We are here to represent and remember the veterans who are still here today and the young soldiers of old who didn’t make it home.

Pictured: Military ceremony on Gold Beach

We can now bring you pictures of the ceremony this morning on Gold Beach where a giant poppy was displayed on the sand for the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

Crowds of re-enactors with their wartime vehicles, and visitors had previously filled the area as the sun rose.

People were seen writing in the sand and wandering the beach cupping hot drinks in their hands as they looked out to sea.

Following the piper’s lament, a French church service was held and military planes flew over head.

People attending the ceremony on Gold Beach in Arromanches in Normandy, France, to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings. Picture date: Thursday June 6, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story MEMORIAL DDay. Photo credit should read: Aaron Chown/PA Wire
Military personnel attending a ceremony on Gold Beach in Arromanches in Normandy, France, to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings. Picture date: Thursday June 6, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story MEMORIAL DDay. Photo credit should read: Aaron Chown/PA Wire
People attending the ceremony on Gold Beach in Arromanches in Normandy, France, to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings. Picture date: Thursday June 6, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story MEMORIAL DDay. Photo credit should read: Aaron Chown/PA Wire
A giant poppy is displayed on Gold Beach in Arromanches in Normandy, France, to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings. Picture date: Thursday June 6, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story MEMORIAL DDay. Photo credit should read: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

A lone military piper has today played on Gold Beach to mark the moment the first British troops stormed the Normandy coast on D-Day 80 years ago

Major Trevor Macey-Lillie played Highland Laddie as he was carried to the beach at Arromanches on a Royal Marines amphibious landing craft flanked by service members.

Crowds gathered at the beach to view the reenactment, which took place in a picturesque sunrise – a far cry from the cloudy and rough seas that welcomed 25,000 soldiers who landed on the same stretch of coast in 1944.

Read Matthew Lodge and Dan Woodland’s piece here:

In pictures: D-Day 80th anniversary commemorations

Rory Tingle reports King Charles was adamant he would go to D-Day commemoration events in Britain and Normandy and made it a personal goal to attend.

The monarch, 75, was present at the UK’s national commemorative event in Portsmouth yesterday and the commemorations in northern France today – marking his first major international event since he began treatment for cancer.

Read Rory’s report here:

Watch: Queen meets D-Day veteran who moved her to tears

This is the moment Queen Camilla met the D-Day veteran whose story of heroism brought her to tears.

Eric Batemen joined the navy at just 17 years old to ‘do his bit for King and Country’, but has rarely spoken about his part in the historic D-Day landings in Normandy.

King Charles yesterday urged people not to forget the ‘service and sacrifice’ of the heroes of D-Day in his first public speech since being diagnosed with cancer.

The monarch, 75, joined the Prince of Wales, leading UK politicians and veterans at a major event in Portsmouth to mark the 80th anniversary of the landings.

Read Rory Tingle’s report here:

Let’s bring you our top story on MailOnline as Robert Hardman joins 100 veterans known as the ‘lucky ones’ and Princess Anne for poignant D-Day tributes.

Read Robert’s piece here:

D-Day 80th anniversary – What is happening today?

US President Joe Biden is seen upon arrival at Paris Orly airport near Paris, on June 5, 2024, as he travels to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day. JULIEN DE ROSA/Pool via REUTERS REFILE - QUALITY REPEAT

Let’s take a look at what we have coming up today with events taking place in France and here in the UK:

  • King Charles, Queen Camilla and Rishi Sunak attend the UK’s national commemoration event at the British Normandy Memorial in Ver-sur-Mer.
  • Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Prince of Wales attend the Canadian national ceremony at Juno Beach centre in Courseulles-sur-Mer.
  • US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron expected to attend the American national ceremony with a memorial service at the Normandy American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer.
  • A D-Day memorial service will be held in Southsea, Portsmouth, with a veterans parade members of the Armed Forces march also taking place.
  • The Royal British Legion will hold a service of remembrance with veterans and family members at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire with the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh to attend.
  • World leaders will gather at an international ceremony on Omaha Beach where Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944. President Biden, Rishi Sunak, Justin Trudeau and Emmanuel Macron to attend alongside the Prince of Wales.
  • Beacons will be lit across the UK and all five beaches in Normandy to remember those involved in the D-Day operation.

We will be providing live coverage throughout the day.

MailOnline has produced this explainer with everything you need to know about the Normandy landings and why it is known as D-Day.

Good morning

PABestKing Charles III speaks at the UK's national commemorative event for the 80th anniversary of D-Day, hosted by the Ministry of Defence on Southsea Common in Portsmouth, Hampshire. Picture date: Wednesday June 5, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story MEMORIAL DDay. Photo credit should read: Leon Neal/PA Wire

Hello and welcome to MailOnline’s live coverage of the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

We have a day packed with events to mark the military operation by Allied forces to liberate Nazi-occupied France on June 6, 1944 – the largest ever attempted by air, land and sea.

King Charles and US President Joe Biden will be in France and we will bring you the news from the events plus pictures and videos of this significant anniversary.





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