Events to mark 80th anniversary of D-Day begin

Children watch as a wreath is laid in a Manx church to mark D-Day
Children at Arbory School helped to lay a wreath in the parish church ahead of the anniversary [Arbory School]

Events to mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings are set to honour the "sacrifices made", the chairman of a Royal British Legion branch has said.

Pupils from Arbory School were taught about the beach landings on 6 June 1944 by members of the Colby section in an assembly.

Branch chairman Jan Rea said it was important to "remember those who went and came back, those who didn't return" in order for future generations to "live peacefully".

The countdown to the anniversary was also marked elsewhere on the island, with the first of 10 days of piping across the island began in Laxey.

The D-Day landings are considered one of the greatest triumphs by the Allied forces during World War Two.

The assault saw 156,000 troops land on the coast of France and led to the liberation of the whole of the northern part of the country.

Children from the southern school also joined Royal British Legion members to lay a wreath ahead of the anniversary in at Arbory Parish Church.

Ms Rea said it was important for young people on the island to understand the "sacrifices made "so we can leave peacefully".

Alistair Lothian
Alistair Lothian played the Highland Laddie in the Laxey Rose Garden [BBC Isle of Man]

Also marking the start of the countdown, Alistair Lothian from Ellan Vannin Pipes and Drums performed the Highland Laddie at 08:00 in Laxey.

The initiative aims to commemorate Canadian piper Bill Millin, who played bagpipes as he led the 1st Commando Brigade ashore on the beaches of Normandy.

He said the performers were "extremely proud" to follow pipers who did the same in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands.

"We're doing very little in comparison to those who fought in the war," he added.

Other areas the pipes will be played are::

  • 29 May - Douglas Head

  • 30 May - Douglas Head

  • 31 May - Port Soderick, Heroes on the Water

  • 1 June - Parliament Square, Ramsey

  • 2 June - Peel Castle

  • 3 June - Onchan Head

  • 4 June - Douglas Cenotaph

  • 5 June - Jurby Church war graves

  • 6 June - National War Memorial, St John’s

A service of reflection will also be held on 6 June at 20:00 at the Royal Chapel in St John's, which will be followed by 80 beacons being lit across the British Isles, including the Isle of Man, at 21:15 BST.

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