Today, the 6th June 2024, marks the 80th anniversary of D-Day

The 6th June 2024 marks the 80th anniversary of D-Day, when Allied forces mounted the largest amphibious invasion the world has ever witnessed. You can find out more about this below, and learn how eating fish and chips today is part of the commemorations. 

Here in Fawkham, the anniversary is being marked by Fawkham Primary where children are reading the poem shown below as part of that day’s worship and by ringing the bell at St.Mary’s Church at 6:30pm. If you would like to take part in the bell ringing, no experience is necessary, just please arrive a few minutes before 6:30 and you will be shown how to do it. You may also wish to take part in the International Tribute at 9:15pm, using the wording shown below.
logo showing the words D Day 80
In 1944 Operation Overlord saw around 4,000 ships and landing craft set down about 132,500 troops on five Normandy beaches in an action that would bring about the liberation of north-west Europe from Nazi occupation. The bravery and sacrifice of those people in securing the peace and freedom we enjoy today will be observed around the United Kingdom, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and UK Overseas Territories. 
Fish and chips will play a major part in the D-Day 80 commemorations. The British Government safeguarded the supply of fish and potatoes during both world wars to ensure the dish remained a boost to morale and these foods were among the few not to be subject to rationingThe words were even used as code by British paratroopers dropped behind enemy lines to identify friendly soldiers nearby – one calling out ‘fish’ and hopefully getting the reply ‘chips’. Thanks to the generous support and involvement of National Fish and Chip Day and the National Federation of Fish Friers, many thousands of fish and chip shops around the United Kingdom will take part in the day’s activities, and raise valuable funds for the four charities involved. If you wish to donate to any of these charities, you can do so via the links below:
picture of fish and chips meal
The statistics behind the successful D-Day operation, which eventually convinced the Nazi high command that their defeat was inevitable, are both shocking and awe inspiring. German defence forces were drawn away from Normandy by distraction tactics as resources were secretly built up on the English coast. Nine million tonnes of supplies and equipment were shipped across the Atlantic and 1.4 million American servicemen arrived to join a substantial contingent of Canadian forces. By 1944 over two million troops from 12 countries were in Britain preparing for the invasion. On D-Day, American, British and Canadian troops were augmented by personnel from Australia, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, the Netherlands, France, Greece, New Zealand, Norway, Rhodesia and Poland. Soon after midnight on 6th June, more than 180,000 Allied paratroopers were dropped into the invasion area, and Allied air crews flew 14,674 sorties to support the landings.
This anniversary is our country’s opportunity to remember over 209,000 Allied casualties of Operation Overlord. This includes nearly 37,000 ground forces and 16,714 air forces killed in the invasion of Normandy’s Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword beaches, and the long and bloody campaign that followed. There are plans to light beacons on all five beaches to remember those who died or came home wounded, starting at 8:15pm. The principal UK beacon will be lit at 9:15pm, when all communities are asked to stop what they are doing and undertake The International Tribute, using the wording shown below. 
Operation Neptune, the naval phase of the campaign, saw nearly 7,000 vessels, including battleships, destroyers, minesweepers and assault craft, escorting and landing the ground troops on the beaches and bombarding German coastal defences. There were approximately 156,000 Allied troops that landed in Normandy by sea and air on D-Day, of whom around 130,000 landed on the beaches, so you might be surprised to learn that despite the extraordinary courage displayed by so many on 6th June 1944, just one Victoria Cross was awarded. It went to Company Sergeant Major Stanley Hollis of the 6th Battalion, The Green Howards, who landed on Gold Beach. During an intense day of fighting, Stan Hollis took two enemy pillboxes and a field gun and crew, capturing 30 Germans single-handedly. The citation for the Yorkshireman’s VC, presented by King George VI, says: “It was largely through his heroism and resource that the Company’s objectives were gained and casualties were not heavier, and by his own bravery he saved the lives of many of his men.” Already battle-hardened at the age of 31, Stan should have been one of the most famous soldiers of WW2 but was a naturally modest man and after the war worked in a number of trades before becoming a publican.
His earliest job, however, was working in his father’s fish and chip shop in Robin Hood’s Bay. So it is fitting that fish and chips are part of the 80th anniversary commemoration.


The Tribute

Let us remember those who gave their lives at home and abroad during the D-Day landings, whose sacrifice enables us all to enjoy the peace and freedom we have today.

Let us remember those who came home wounded, physically and mentally, and the friends and family who cared for them.

Let us remember those who returned to restore their relationships and rebuild their working lives after years of conflict and turmoil.

Let us remember the families that lost husbands, wives, sons, daughters and sweethearts.

Let us remember the servicemen and women and merchant seafarers of all nationalities – from all countries – who fought, suffered and died during the D-Day landings and six years of war.

Let us all remember those in the Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force, Merchant Navy, and our Allies – the brave people who kept us safe on the home front and abroad and those in reserved occupations during the difficult time of war.

Let us remember the brave doctors and nurses who cared for the wounded, the men and women who toiled in the fields, the coal mines, the factories and the air raid wardens, police officers, firemen, ambulance drivers and the young people of the Scouts and Guides who all played such a vital role in the war.

the words of the school's D-Day poem