D-Day 80th anniversary: The Day that Changed the World

29th May 2024

“The Normandy landings on 6 June 1944 saw bravery and determination that turned the tide of the Second World War. With our service, we honour all those involved.”

Dean of St Edmundsbury.

Cathedrals mark the 80th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings

Portsmouth Cathedral will lead the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings live on BBC Radio 4 this Sunday, Hereford Cathedral choir have been invited to France to sing as part of the commemoration, Winston Churchill’s great-grandson will light a beacon, bellringers will ring for peace and wool art recreates poignant scenes from The Day that Changed the World at Ripon Cathedral and Southwell Minster.

D-Day 80th anniversary: The Day that Changed the World.

This Sunday (June 2) Portsmouth Cathedral will start a week of commemoration for the 80th anniversary of D-Day with a special Sunday Worship Service broadcast live on BBC Radio 4.

The service, which begins at 8:10am will mark the start of the week-long events in Portsmouth for D-Day 80, also known as “The Day that Changed the World.”

Coventry Cathedral will mark the anniversary with a special Choral Evensong on Thursday 6 June when the Cathedral and the city will remember all those who risked so much on that day 80 years ago when British, American and Canadian and other Allied nation troops landed on the beaches of Normandy and began the important work of liberating occupied Europe.

The service will also remember those who are caught in conflict today, who are still awaiting their freedom, who and have been separated by war.

Coventry Cathedral forged new relationships with German cities after World War II – part of the cathedral’s continuing ministry work for peace-building and reconciliation.

The Revd Mary Gregory, Canon for Arts and Reconciliation at Coventry Cathedral, said:

“In this special Evensong, we will remember all those who risked so much for the freedom of others and will pray for those caught up in conflicts today who still await their freedom.

“In a place which is known the world over as an icon of peace, we will pray for the end of conflict and the reconciliation of enemies through building a culture of justice and peace.”

Winchester Cathedral too will host a special evensong to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day on June 6 which will be attended by the Lord Lieutenant and members of the armed forces. Everyone is welcome.

St Edmundsbury Cathedral will host a special Evensong service on June 6 in partnership with the Royal British Legion.

Veterans and current military personnel from Suffolk will attend the Cathedral service. The Lord Lieutenant, Lady Clare Euston, and three military representatives will lay wreaths, the Bishop of Dunwich, The Rt Revd Dr Mike Harrison will preach and readings will include the poignant poem, ‘Normandy’ read by Royal Marine Veteran Tony Hensby.

As a 14-year-old boy, Tony has a clear memory of the sight and sound of the sky being full of aeroplanes, later learning they were headed to France for D-Day. He later joined the Royal Marines.

D-Day 80th anniversary: The Day that Changed the World.

The Very Revd Joe Hawes, Dean of St Edmundsbury, said:

“An entire generation gave everything for us to live in freedom and we must never forget their sacrifice; those who never came home, those who did, and those who remained to keep us going through conflict.

“The Normandy landings on 6 June 1944 saw bravery and determination that turned the tide of the Second World War. With our service, we honour all those involved,’ he added.

The Norman Tower bellringers will join bellringers around the country in the Ringing for Peaceinitiative at 6.30pm on June 6.

Lichfield Cathedral will mark the 80th anniversary by remembering the great efforts and sacrifices made. On Sunday 2 June they will tell the story and pay tribute to one of the heroes of WWII, Peggy Knight, who was parachuted behind enemy lines in Nazi-occupied France and on Saturday 8 June, there’s an evening of wartime music by the D-Day Darlings.

And the choir of Hereford Cathedral has been invited to sing at the commemoration services in France this year – as they did for the 75th anniversary in 2019.

Rochester Cathedral will host a Choral Evensong commemorating the 80th anniversary of D-Day. The service is expected to finish by 6.20pm with the ringing of the cathedral bells to coincide with the National Bellringing for Peace.

All our cathedrals will be marking this special occasion with services and events. Do check out your local cathedral to find out more. Bellringers across the country will also be ringing for peace at 6.30pm on Thursday 6 June to mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings.