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Royal Navy and Southsea Commemorate 70 Years Since D-Day

Thousands of people from across the UK descended on Southsea in Portsmouth for the 70th anniversary commemorations of D-Day.

Veterans were given pride of place at a special Drumhead ceremony near the war memorial with 144 members of all three Services on parade as a ceremonial guard of honour as well as representation from the Canadian and French navies and 48 cadets.

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal took the salute at the dias after inspecting those on parade followed by music from the 42-strong band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines, Portsmouth, readings, hymns and prayers in memory of events 70 years ago.

Ian Christie, 88, a former Royal Marine from Perth, Scotland travelled down the previous day to ensure he would be at the celebrations.

“I am overjoyed because I really wanted to be here,” he said. “I have been here for previous celebrations but this could be my last. It is very important that people continue to remember — when people have gone out to put their lives at risk for their country we should ensure that is marked with ceremonies like this.

“I remember DDay — I was in a tank regiment of the Royal Marines and we were in a landing craft travelling towards the shore. The back of the craft that was built up to stop water coming in was shattered so we pulled it away and used it as a ramp to get onto the shore. We then fought like infantry after that. I wouldn’t say that I enjoyed the experience to be honest but it had to be done.”

As well as the ceremony 138 Royal Marines, Royal Navy and Royal Netherlands Marine Corps demonstrated their amphibious skills with an assault onto Southsea beach. Launched ashore by landing craft from the Fleet Flagship HMS Bulwark and the HNLMS Johan de Witt, the marines stormed the area, fighting their way through enemy personnel and finishing their demonstration in front of the crowd. Two Royal Navy Sea Kings from 845 Naval Air Squadron based at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose.

Video released by the UK Ministry of Defence

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