A series of local events will soon commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings and the role the three towns played in ensuring their success.
With their south coast location, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole were strategically important locations for the D-Day preparations, which would culminate in the largest seaborne invasion in history on 6 June 1944. During the war Bournemouth was designated a “defence area’’ and hotels were requisitioned for military use. In Christchurch, the airfield was a vitally important base for the Royal Airforce and the United States Airforce. Meanwhile, Poole was the third largest embarkation point for tens of thousands of allied troops destined for the beaches of Normandy.
Christchurch Library will be hosting a fascinating photography exhibition. From 3 to the 8 June it will present the role played by the US 405th Fighter Bomber Group, which used the local Christchurch airfield in their preparations for D-Day, alongside the Airspeed Factory and the Bailey Bridge in World War II. Bournemouth Library has a local heritage display using images and accounts from the library collections; and Tuckton Library (6 June 10.30am) and Ensbury Park Library (7 June 2.30pm) are hosting D-Day talks open to all.
On the anniversary of D-Day itself, Poole will host a short service of commemoration for the soldiers, sailors, airmen and civilians who lost their lives on 6 June at 4pm. Members of the public are invited to join the service. This will include a two-minute silence and wreath laying ceremony attended by Councillor David Flagg, new Chairman of BCP Council at the D-Day memorial plaque on Dolphin Quays on Poole Quay.
Councillor Mark Howell, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Culture said:
“We are extremely proud of the area’s role in the national effort during World War Two. Poole was a central embarkation point for thousands of allied troops and it is therefore fitting that we should come together to pay our respects. I would encourage people to take a moment to remember the sacrifices made during the momentous events of 1944 and reflect over the history of our three towns. There is also a great opportunity to visit these libraries for some remarkable accounts of this crucial time in our history and that of the nation.”