Portsmouth and Southsea will have the focus of the world this week as the 75th anniversary of D-Day commemorations take place, including the UK national event on 5 June. There is a whole host of special events taking place in the city, much of which can be witnessed from Ryde looking out over the Solent.
The Ministry of Defence is leading the commemorations on the 5th June with 4,000 personnel, 11 Royal Navy vessels and multiple aircrafts taking part, including Spitfires. The event will welcome dignitaries and heads of state from around the world (including President Donald Trump!) to honour the veterans and will include a flypast of RAF aircraft. Later, the city will wave off around 300 veterans and guests, as they set sail for France to take in events along the Normandy beaches.
Here is our guide to what’s happening…
Wednesday 5th June:
Portsmouth will host the national commemoration event on Southsea seafront in the morning. The public will be able to watch televised coverage from the BBC on big screens (in Southsea) and an RAF flypast will include a Spitfire.
The afternoon will see a Red Arrows flypast, and the departure of MV Boudicca, a ship chartered by The Royal British Legion, which will carry 300 D-Day veterans to Normandy, escorted by a Royal Navy vessel, representing the famous crossing 75 years before.
Thursday 6th June:
Visitors will be able to watch coverage of D-Day 75 from Normandy on a big screen at Southsea Common.
Friday 7th June:
All the action takes place at Southsea Common. 10:30am, Portsmouth Music Hub will be performing a special composition on the main stage. At 5pm, Military Band Concert, main stage. 6pm: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and a specially formed young person’s choir performing a composition by James Olsen, inspired by reminiscences of D-Day veterans and the D-Day Story, main stage. 7pm is Open air cinema screening of a family film, big screen, Southsea Common.
Saturday 8th June:
Saturday hosts The Portsmouth Revival Festival, a weekend of entertainment and activities for all the family featuring music and dancing from the 1940s plus a Red Arrows flypast. The evening features the Sunset Concert for Heroes, a free unticketed 1940s themed concert featuring the Portsmouth Military Wives Choir, the D-Day Darlings, and the Royal Marines Association Concert Band, main stage, Southsea Common, followed by a firework display at 10pm.
Sunday 9th June:
The second day of The Portsmouth Revival Festival, featuring music and dancing from the 1940s, arena displays, military and vintage vehicles, vintage fairground rides, a 1940s vintage market, and archive and war film screenings.
For more information, head to Visit Portsmouth.