COMMEMORATIONS to mark the 80th anniversary of nD-Day were well supported in Ross-on-Wye on June 6.

The day began with a contingent of war veterans and representatives from the Royal British Legion assembling at the Market House where the special commemorative flag was hoisted at 10am.

flag raising
CEREMONY: The flag raising ceremony takes place at the Market Hall in Ross. (Tindle)

The second event, held at St Mary’s Church, at which a packed audience heard the D-Day story.

Paul Deenen, a Justice of the Peace and a John Kyrle High School governor introduced proceedings and welcomed D-Day veterans Stanley Wilson and Peter Harness to the church and added: “I am delighted to welcome you all here this evening to, in some small way, honour those men and women who took part in Operations Neptune and Overlord.

“The D-Day landings on June 6, 1944, were the largest naval, air and land operation in history. Tonight, we honour those who fought to overthrow tyranny and liberate Europe after almost five years of occupation.

“As we look forward to the future, I believe we should take strength from the shared hardship of the Second World War. That future is why so many of our servicemen and women gave their lives – and protecting the peace they fought for is the greatest thing we can honour those who fell.”

At the end of the presentation The Lord Lieutenant of Herefordshire Edward Harley laid a wreath on behalf of the two D-Day veterans.

WREATH: The Lord Lieutenant of Herefordshire Edward Harley confers with the two D-Day veterans before laying a wreath at St Mary’s Church. (Tindle)

Mr Harley said: “Ross has a very warm tradition for marking such occasions like this. We all have direct links, one way or another with D-Day. And we are all beneficiaries of the sacrifices they made. Our guests or honour are our two D-Day veterans, messrs Wilson and Harness.

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D-DAY VETERANS: Stanley Wilson and Peter Harness with cadets Beatrice Zuka and Alexander Pitcher-leigh with Mr Harley and the mayor of Ross, Cllr Bev Pope. (Tindle)

“I can only say it is such an honour they are here with us today. I thank them individually for their bravery, alongside many others.

“There are many other Herefordshire links to D-Day, including the Herefordshire Regiment. The air assault on Juno’s beach was commanded by a local farmer’s son.

“The D-Day manoeuvres was a staggering operation with some 5,000 ships and landing craft and 150,000 troops landing on the beaches of France.  This led to the liberation of France and was the beginning of the end of hostilities. And through our two D-Day veterans I would like to express our collective appreciation for all the courage and sacrifices that were made on June 6, 1944 and the ensuing days.

“It is absolutely right we acknowledge this historic event on its 80th anniversary as it led to the post-war era of peace.

PARADE: A piper leads the D-Day anniversary parade from the church to The Prospect. (Tindle)

“The heroism of all those involved in Normandy in June 1944 represented a beacon of light during a world in darkness. It is very fitting that we are lighting a beacon here in Ross along with others across the nation as a tribute to them all.”

Mayor of Ross Cllr Bev Pope said that we should also remember the efforts of all the brave people who fought on the home front, the doctors and nurses who cared for the injured and those who toiled in the fields, the air raid wardens, fire crews, police officers and numerous other organisation which played their own part in the war effort.”

The commemorative event organised by Ross Town Council concluded with the lighting of the Beacon high up on The Prospect.

town crier
OYEZ OYEZ: Ross-0n-Wye town crier Ray Churchill reads out the proclamation. (Tindle)

Ross’ town crier Ray Churchill read out the proclamation before Mr Harley lit the commemorative beacon to the sounds of a piper.

BEACON: Lord Lieutenant of Herefordshire Edward Harley lights the ceremonial beacon on The Prospect. (Tindle)