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Royal Victoria Country Park & Lepe Country Park to host commemorative D-Day events at historic locations

Special tribute events will take place at Hampshire locations that played a key role in D-Day, offering people a chance to take part in commemorations marking the 80th anniversary. This includes a beacon lighting at Lepe Country Park, marking the site where troops embarked on boats headed to the Normandy Beaches on 6 June 1944.  

 

Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Rob Humby, said: “The 80th anniversary of D-Day is an opportunity to honour all those who took part in the largest amphibious invasion the world has ever witnessed, many of whom gave their lives to secure the defeat of Nazism. Paying tribute to this sacrifice and service reflects Hampshire’s long-standing commitment to the Armed Forces that continues to this day.   

“In recognition of the important role that several Hampshire locations played in connection to D-Day, now part of Lepe Country Park and Royal Victoria Country Park, we are proud to be hosting events that give residents a chance to mark this extraordinary chapter in history. A highlight is a beacon lighting at Lepe, marking the place where thousands of men bravely departed for Normandy. This will form a network of illuminations to symbolise the period of peace that followed the darkness of war.” 

 

Royal Victoria Country Park, Netley – the site was home to the Royal Victoria Hospital which was transferred to the American Army on 15 January 1944 to give the United States forces a medical base on the south coast of England ahead of the D-Day landings. The hospital site became home to both the Army and Navy medical services and stayed under American control until 19 July 1945.  

 

Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 June – ‘Reminiscence in the Park: Marking the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings’ including a new exhibition in the Chapel telling the story of the American troops at Netley and a portrait exhibition by artist Nel Brooks of WWII veterans: 

  • Saturday 15 June – A family-friendly day being run in partnership with the Bursledon, Hamble & Hound Dementia Action Group. Activities include WW2 and other historic vehicles; US Army military medical tentage and equipment; as well as the ‘Dementia Bus’ a unique interactive training experience to show people what it is like to live with dementia, help increase understanding of dementia and raise awareness in the local community. 

  • Sunday 16 June - Bursledon, Hamble & Hound Dementia Action Group will hold a sponsored walk in the morning and a 1940s-style tea-dance in the Chapel in the late afternoon; There will be a short programme of talks in the Chapel about Southampton and Netley at the time of D-Day, performances by students from Meoncross School; and a guided walk.  


Lepe Country Park – sections of the beach at Lepe were a vital departure point for troops, vehicles, and supplies heading to Normandy; it was also a construction site for part of the prefabricated floating Mulberry Harbour and the mainline base for the P.L.U.T.O. pipeline which provided fuel from the UK to France.

 

Visitors are advised that some sections of the beach with remaining WWII infrastructure are currently closed for safety due to recent storm damage

 

  • Monday 3 June, 11am - Royal Dragoons Memorial event to mark the day troops started embarkation on the boats in preparation for D-Day.  

  • Thursday 6 June from 7:00pm-10:00pm – Beacon lighting event on Lepe Cliff Top at 9.15pm by Councillor Rob Humby, Leader of Hampshire County Council. Visitors are encouraged to arrive by 8.15pm. The Lookout café will open late offering fish and chip suppers – fish and chips are forming a key part of the national commemorations recognising that the meal was seen as an important element of the war effort, and its ingredients were not rationed.   

  • Saturday 8 June - Family Day focused on the heritage of Lepe Country Park and its role in the D-Day landings with activities including brass bands, singing and family-friendly activities.  

  • Sunday 9 June, 11pm – Annual Memorial Service at the Anchor Memorial on the cliff top, including wreath laying.  


Find out more on the County Council’s webpages Events | Things to do in Hampshire | Hampshire County Council (hants.gov.uk)

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