Donald and Melania Trump flew in to Normandy on Thursday to join leaders of the Allied nations who gathered to mark the 75th anniversary of the greatest military invasion in history.
Mr Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May join Emmanuel Macron and Justin Trudeau this morning at the five D-Day beaches: Gold, Utah, Omaha, Juno and Sword and meet veterans who fought for freedom.
The moving day in northern France began with a ceremony at dawn where a lone piper played a lament marking the exact moment in 1944 British troops first landed and charged across the sand towards their Nazi foes.
President Trump, who will visit Omaha this morning with his First Lady, took off from Shannon in Ireland after tweeting: ‘They did not know if they would survive the hour. They did not know if they would grow old. But they knew that America had to prevail. Their cause was this Nation, and generations yet unborn’.
He wrote as he prepared to leave his Irish hotel for France: ‘A big and beautiful day today!’
The President will later tell crowds at Omaha beach, where the majority of Americans fell, that those who died ‘won back this ground for civilization’.
From dawn on June 6 1944 – known as the Longest Day – 156,000 troops left landing craft and raced on to the sand along the Normandy coast to smash Hitler’s Nazis – supported by 250,000 more men supporting them from the sea and air.
These brave men, from all corners of the world, gained a foothold in France that turned the Second World War and would lead to the liberation of Europe within a year.
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump make their way to board Air Force One at Shannon Airport in Ireland as they head for Normandy
Trump and Melania disembark Air Force One on Thursday morning as they make their way to the ceremony to commemorate the D-Day landings
Mr Trump shared this moving message as he headed to France to remember The Longest Day – D-Day
US veteran Kirt Robbins pays his respects at dawn on the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day landings at the American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, above Omaha Beach
People gather as an American flag flaps in the wind prior to a ceremony to mark the 75th anniversary celebrations on the beaches
President Trump, who will visit Omaha this morning with his First Lady, took off from Shannon in Ireland earlier this morning. Pictured: The American cemetery in Normandy
Trump will say in his speech to veterans gathered at the famous battlefield that the bond between the Allied nations who fought on D-Day is ‘unbreakable’.
‘We are gathered here on Freedom’s Altar. On these shores, on these bluffs, on this day 75 years ago, ten thousand men shed their blood-and thousands sacrificed their lives-for their brothers, for their countries, and for the survival of liberty,’ Trump will say in the speech.
‘Today, we remember those who fell here, and we honor all who fought here. They won back this ground for civilization.
‘The enemy who occupied these heights saw the largest naval armada in history on the horizon. Just a few miles offshore were 7,000 vessels bearing 130,000 warriors. They were the citizens of free and independent nations, united by their duty to their compatriots and to millions yet unborn.’
He will also make reference to the ‘cherished alliance’ between nations which was ‘forged on the beaches’.
‘To all of our friends and partners – our cherished alliance was forged in the heat of battle, tested in the trials of war, and proven in the blessings of peace. Our bond is unbreakable,’ his speech continues.
How D-Day 75 will be marked in Normandy today
5am, Le Havre: Veterans aboard Royal British Legion cruise liner MV Boudicca arrive in Normandy
6.26am Arromanches: Lone piper standing on Mulberry harbour marks exact moment first British soldier landed on Gold Beach, followed by flag-raising.
7.30am Ver-sur-Mer, above Gold beach: Theresa May and President Macron attend inauguration of British Normandy Memorial – the first monument to honour the 22,442 UK and Commonwealth heroes who never came home – which is being built with help from generous Daily Mail readers.
9am – 9.45am Bayeux Cathedral: Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall and Theresa May will join 300 British veterans at annual Service of Remembrance at Bayeux Cathedral. Veterans then walk 600 yards to Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery.
11am to Noon Bayeux, Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery for Service of Remembrance attended by Prince Charles and Theresa May.
Noon – US cemetery, Colleville-sur-Mer: Donald Trump and President Macron attend ceremony overlooking Omaha Beach for 9,380 American dead.
2.15pm – Arromanches: British veterans gather in town overlooking Gold Beach.
5pm Arromanches: Jim Radford, 90, right, who was a cabin boy, will sing his hit ballad The Shores of Normandy, which is heading to No 1 in the charts.
5.25pm, Arromanches: Parachute displays by Army’s Red Devils.
10.30pm, Arromanches: Firework finale and Central Band of the RAF leading veterans in singing We’ll Meet Again, White Cliffs of Dover and Auld Lang Syne.
‘The exceptional might came from an exceptional spirit. The abundance of courage came from an abundance of faith. The great deeds of our Army came from the great depths of their love.’
Trump will be joined at the ceremony by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with whom he has previously clashed over the Mueller report.
While attending the beach service on Thursday, Pelosi told DailyMail.com: We are here prayerfully, gratefully and patriotically to salute our veterans, and we have a strong bipartisan delegation to do just that.
‘But this is their day, and it’s, as we have done in the past, we’re here to praise them, to listen to their stories, to thank them, and to remember that what they had to do is protect freedom and save civilization, really, and that we have a responsibility and our mission is to build a future worthy of their sacrifice and their mission for peace.’
Asked whether anyone in her family had a personal connection with the battle, Pelosi revealed her uncle had a hand in liberating Europe from the Nazis.
‘When I was here five years ago, I was telling some of the veterans that my uncle died at the Battle of the Bulge. And the veterans said, “Oh, yeah. We went there after.” They just kept on fighting. Imagine the current – I thought once they did the invasion of Normandy, they might be, you know, go home or something, but no – they kept on fighting.’
Today Theresa May also paid tribute to the bravery and sacrifice of the ‘greatest generation’ of service personnel who served during the landings.
‘If one day can be said to have determined the fate of generations to come, in France, in Britain, in Europe and in the world, that day was the 6 June 1944,’ she said.
‘More than 156,000 men landed on D-Day, of which 83,000 were from Britain and the Commonwealth.
‘Over a quarter of a million more supported operations from air and sea, while the French Resistance carried out extraordinary acts of bravery from behind enemy lines.
‘Many were terribly wounded, and many made the ultimate sacrifice that day, and in the fierce sacrifice that followed, as together our Allied nations sought to release Europe from the grip of fascism.’
The Prime Minister read the names of several British troops who were killed during the D-Day landings and the Battle of Normandy.
Mrs May then travelled to Bayeux Cathedral to join up with Prince Charles for a memorial service.
At the start of the service, a message on behalf of Pope Francis was read by Cardinal Marc Ouellet.
He said D-Day was ‘decisive in the fight against Nazi barbarism’ and paid tribute to those who ‘joined the Army and gave their lives for freedom and peace’.
D-Day veteran Kenneth Hay read from the poem Normandy, by Cyril Crain, who also took part in the Allied invasion.
Mr Hay’s reading began: ‘Come and stand in memory of men who fought and died.
‘They gave their lives in Normandy, remember them with pride.’
Crain landed at Juno Beach in June 1944, four days before his 21st birthday. He died in 2014, aged 91.
Dignitaries will lay memorial wreaths and the last post will be played at the site where more than 4,000 war dead are buried.
Nearby, in the town of Arromanches, around 300 veterans have gathered to commemorate their fallen comrades.
Theresa May and Emmanuel Macron laid wreaths at the foundation stone of the new British monument.
Seven British D-Day veterans were accompanied by four children, including Sir Winston Churchill’s great-great grandson John Churchill, to lay flowers in front of a sculpture at the memorial depicting three British soldiers storming the beaches.
It was created by David Williams-Ellis to mark the beginning of construction for the memorial, which is expected to be completed within a year.
The ceremony concluded with a piped lament from Trooper Kurtis Rankin of The Royal Dragoon Guards.
Crowds gather on Gold beach this morning to listen to Lone Piper, Pipe Major Trevor Macey-Lillie of the 19th regiment, Royal Artillery, who saluted to those who gathered to remember the brave soldiers who landed there 75 years ago today
A new memorial, which overlooks Gold Beach, records the names of more than 20,000 British servicemen who died in the D-Day landings and Battle of Normandy. It depicts three soldiers advancing across the beach
Prime Minister Theresa May paid tribute to the thousands who made the ultimate sacrifice and died in the fight to free Europe from Hitler’s tyranny
Mrs May glances at veterans who gathered to remember their comrades who laid down their lives on the beaches of Normandy
Mrs May grips the hand of a veteran after her speech where she thanked the hundreds of thousands of people who fought in France on June 6, 1944
A moved Theresa May is comforted by Emmanuel Macron at a ceremony above Gold beach, where the first British troops arrived to fight to free Europe in 1944
The two world leaders stare out on to Gold Beach – which 75 years ago today would have been at the centre of one of the most violent battles the world had ever known
Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron greeted one another warmly and Mr Macron said he was honoured to stand side-by-side with the British
President Macron and Prime Minister May stand in the shadow of the Union Flag that was raised at 6.26am – the minute British troops arrived
Mrs May was accompanied to Bayeux by her husband Philip on her last day as Tory leader, and Prince Charles was with his wife Camilla, (together right)
Sunlight shines above the altar of Bayeaux Cathedral where the Pope sent a message paying tribute to those who ‘joined the Army and gave their lives for freedom and peace’
The Prince of Wales greets Prime Minister Theresa May as he arrives for the Royal British Legion Service of Remembrance, Bayeux Cathedral, France, as part of commemorations for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings today
Theresa May curtseys for the Prince of Wales outside Bayeux Cathedral in Normandy today as world leaders and royalty gathered to remember those who fought for freedom on D-Day
Veterans and their families arrive at Bayeux Cathedral, France, for the Royal British Legion Service of Remembrance
Soldiers from The Rifles and the Army Air Corps also gathered at the iconic World War II site of Pegasus Bridge to commemorate the actions of their predecessors, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry and Glider Pilot Regiment, 75 years ago
Military vehicles line the beach at Arromanches in Normandy, northern France, ahead of a day of events to mark the 75 anniversary of D-Day
The Union Flag flies outside the Cathedral of Bayeux in Normandy today – 75 years to the day that the Allies launched the greatest invasion in history
Mrs May and President Macron then spoke to the veterans.
British D-Day memorial to 22,442 who died in Normandy is unveiled at poignant ceremony
Normandy veterans today paid an emotional tribute to their fallen comrades at a new memorial unveiled on the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
The veterans were joined by Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron at Ver-sur-Mer in France for the unveiling of the monument.
Mr Macron and Mrs May lay a wreath of flowers during a ceremony to lay the first stone at Ver-sur-Mer in France today
Mrs May has paid tribute to those who raised funds for the British Normandy Memorial which she said will ensure ‘the legacy of those who died lives on’.
Thousands of Daily Mail readers donated money towards the monument which overlooks Gold Beach, where British troops stormed ashore on June 6, 1944.
The spectacular memorial lists the names of all 22,442 members of the fallen British servicemen and women who died in the Normandy campaign that year.
Patrick Moore from Kent, a veteran of the Royal Engineers, stands next to the new British Normandy Memorial today
Mrs May and Mr Macron laid wreaths at the foundation stone of the monument, while seven British D-Day veterans were accompanied by four children to lay flowers.
Sir Winston Churchill’s great-great grandson John Churchill was among those looking at the sculpture depicting three British soldiers storming the beaches.
The bronze sculpture was created by David Williams-Ellis to mark the beginning of construction for the memorial, which is expected to be completed within a year.
Standing 9ft tall and weighing several tons, the three figures are not based on any individuals and deliberately carry no legible regimental markings or insignia.
The ceremony concluded with a piped lament from Trooper Kurtis Rankin of The Royal Dragoon Guards. Mrs May and Mr Macron then spoke to the veterans.
Mrs May paid tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice, saying: ‘They laid down their lives so that we might have a better life and build a better world.’
Veterans and their families will gather for a service of remembrance at Bayeux Cathedral.
They will be joined by Prime Minister Theresa May, and the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall for the commemoration marking 75 years since D-Day.
At Gold this morning at 6.26am (UK time) Pipe Major Trevor Macey-Lillie, of 19th Regiment Royal Artillery (The Scottish Gunners), performed Highland Laddie on Port Winston – the remains of one of the temporary Mulberry harbour constructed for the Allied landings. British troops launched themselves on to Sword beach at 6.30am.
Americans were the first to launch the D-Day assault with simultaneous attacks at Utah and Omaha beaches at 5.30am, while the Canadians landed at Juno at 6.35am.
It begins another day of commemorations, which will see veterans descending on the town square of Arromanches as part of a parade that will be followed by a Red Arrows flypast and a firework display.
Across the Channel, a service of remembrance and wreath laying takes place at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire.
Theresa May was at the inauguration ceremony in France on the 75th anniversary of D-Day in what will be one of her final official engagements as Conservative leader.
She said: ‘It’s incredibly moving to be here today, looking out over the beaches where one of the greatest battles for freedom this world has ever known took place.
‘And it is truly humbling to do so with the men who were there that day. It’s an honour for all of us to share this moment with you.’
The Prime Minister was joined by French President Emmanuel Macron at Ver-Sur-Mer in Normandy at a ceremony marking the creation of the British Normandy Memorial.
Addressing the audience, President Macron said: ‘I am honoured to stand alongside Theresa May today to launch construction work for the British memorial at Ver-sur-Mer.
‘The British people have long dreamt of this memorial.’
He added: ‘This is where, 75 years ago, on June 6, 1944, almost 25,000 British soldiers landed in France to free the country from Nazi control.
‘This is where young men, many of whom had never set foot on French soil, landed at dawn under German fire, risking their lives while fighting their way up the beach, which was littered with obstacles and mines.’
He added: ‘It is time to remedy the fact that no memorial pays tribute to the United Kingdom’s contribution to the Battle of Normandy.’
He said the monument would also be a symbol of the ties binding France and the UK.
He said: ‘Nothing will break them. Nothing can ever break ties that have been bound in bloodshed and shared values.
‘The debates taking place today cannot affect the strength of our joint history and our shared future.’
President Macron assured Mrs May of his friendship, adding: ‘Leaders may come and go but their achievements remain.
‘The force of our friendship will outlast current events.’
Pipe Major Trevor Macey-Lillie, of 19th Regiment Royal Artillery (The Scottish Gunners), performed at early morning rendition of Highland Laddie on Port Winston – the remains of one of the temporary Mulberry harbour constructed for the landings
The tribute began at 6.26am today – the exact moment the first British boots touched the beach to confront the German defenders
A new British memorial has been unveiled at a a Franco-British ceremony to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day landings Ver-Sur-Mer, Normandy, overlooking Gold beach
May and Macron walk in the Normandy sunshine – 75 years ago the brave D-Day soldiers fought their way into France in much poorer conditions
Theresa May arrives in Ver-sur-Mer, overlooking Gold Beach, where the first British attack came 75 years ago today
How D-Day unfolded 75 years ago today
These are the key moments which helped ensure D-Day became the largest seaborne military invasion in history.
June 6, 1944 – D-Day
– 01.30-2.00am – Allied combined bombardment and assault fleets arrive and anchor off the French coast.
– 3.30am – Sainte Mere Eglise is liberated by Americans – who hoist the US flag at the town hall – and roads leading up to Utah Beach are closed.
– 4am – Britain’s 9th Battalion, the Parachute Regiment, helps destroy weapons at the Merville Battery to protect troops who will land at Sword Beach.
– 4.30am– Allied warships begin bombarding the Normandy coastline. Landing ships and landing craft head for shore.
– 5am – Bombers pound the German shore defences. More than 5,300 tonnes of bombs are dropped.
– 5.30am– American forces begin landing on Omaha Beach and face a devastating enemy onslaught which pins them there until 1100.
– 5.30am – Americans troops begin landing on Utah Beach.
– 6.10am – US 2nd Army Ranger Battalion attacks 100ft high fortified cliff the Pointe du Hoc, defending it for the rest of the day.
– 6.25am – British land at Gold and Sword Beaches.
– 6.35am – Canadians land at Juno Beach.
– 8am – General Eisenhower authorises release of communique announcing the invasion has begun and General Bradley calls for reinforcements.
– 8.45am – Enemy forces cleared from Utah Beach.
-11am – Winston Churchill speaks to the House of Commons about the landings, saying: ‘So far the commanders who are engaged report that everything is proceeding according to plan. And what a plan!’
– 12.30pm – Troops on Omaha Beach begin securing the area. Allied forces begin to bomb the town of Caen with 160 tonnes of bombs dropped.
– 1.30pm – The Nazi’s 21st Panzer Division unleash a counter-attack towards the coast.
– 3pm – The British arrive at Arromanches.
– 5pm– Some of the 3rd Canadian Division, North Nova Scotia Highlanders reach 5km inland. 1st Hussar tanks cross the Caen-Bayeux railway, 15km inland. Canadian Scottish link up with the 50th Division at Creully.
– 6pm – Command post set up on Omaha Beach.
– 7pm Allied patrols at the outskirts of Bayeux.
– 10pm – King George VI address is broadcast. He says it is a ‘fight to win the final victory for the good cause’.
Chaplain General Clinton Langston opened the ceremony giving thanks to those who served in the campaign from June 5 to August 31 1944.
He said: ‘It is only right and proper that their sacrifice and service is acknowledged and commemorated here as we gather to inaugurate the site of this British Normandy Memorial.’
Normandy veteran and patron of The Normandy Trust George Batts told the crowd: ‘They were the soldiers of democracy.
‘They were the men of D-Day and to them we owe our freedom.’
In Portsmouth, following President Donald Trump’s visit yesterday, a veteran’s parade will take place before a memorial service at the city’s D-Day Stone.
And in London, the Duke of Sussex will attend Founder’s Day at the Royal Hospital Chelsea where he will see the Chelsea Pensioners and six veterans from the Normandy Landings.
Paratroopers aged in their 90s jumped from Dakota war planes over Normandy yesterday afternoon as they re-enacted the bravery of soldiers who were central to the decisive landings.
About 280 took part in the jump over the French coast yesterday, including veterans of landings in World War II. Harry Read, 95, was pictured leaping from the skies and landing in Sannerville in front of crowds of admirers.
Aircraft were pictured taking to the skies in Cambridgeshire, at the Imperial War Museum, before heading to France to commemorate those who died in the fighting on June 6 1944.
Their display brought to life the daring efforts of Allied troops, who secured the first step on the road to defeating the Nazis with the offensive.
Tearful veterans gathered in Portsmouth, Duxford and Normandy as Queen Elizabeth II and US President Donald Trump hailed the bravery of those on the front line.
British paratroopers jumped after American veterans did the same earlier yesterday, with one making the leap aged 97. Ex 82nd Airborne paratrooper Tom Rice, from San Diego, California, was among some 200 parachutists who filled the Normandy skies of France for the 75th anniversary of the invasion as they leapt from vintage C-47 Dakota planes in what was a moving sight.
Mr Rice jumped in a tandem into roughly the same area he landed in on D-Day near Carentan, a town among the main targets for the paratroopers. He said: ‘It went perfect, perfect jump. I feel great. I’d go up and do it all again.’
This morning’s tribute begins another day of commemorations, which will see veterans descending on the town square of Arromanches as part of a parade that will be followed by a Red Arrows flypast and a firework display
Reenactors dressed in military uniform carry a Union flag at dawn on the beach at Arromanches in Normandy to watch the piper this morning
Arromanches – where these reenactors are pictured this morning – will be a focal point for continuing D-Day commemorations today
French WWII enthousiast Damien Tracou with a rifle on the shoulders, looks the sun rises today on Utah Beach in Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, northwestern France
Pipe Major Trevor Macey-Lillie walking along Gold Beach towards Port Winston five minutes before this morning’s moving tribute
The commemorations yesterday: Veterans leap from planes over Normandy as they recreate the D-Day landings 75 years after they were carried out
The original leap from the skies over Normandy as part of Operation Overlord, which was the first step on road to victory for the Allies in World War II
Hundreds of paratroopers drop from the sky over France as veterans parachuted onto the Normandy coast to commemorate the D-Day landings
Harry Read lands in Sannerville, France, as crowds gather to watch today’s moving commemoration of the decisive D-Day landings in Normandy yesterday
British D-Day veteran Reg Charles, 96, salutes during a memorial ceremony at the Pegasus Bridge Museum in Caen yesterday, He is the last surviving member of the glider assault unit
Yesterday, the only surviving member of the unit behind the daring Pegasus Bridge operation which paved the way for the D-Day landings yesterday paid an emotional tribute to his fallen comrades.
Reg Charles, 96, is the last surviving member of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry which helped to secure two key bridges in Normandy, just hours before the Allied beach assault on June 6, 1944.
Some 18 men died in the raid codenamed Operation Deadstick, which aimed to land six Horsa gliders near two small bridges over the River Orne and Caen Canal in northern France, capturing them from the Germans.
Mr Charles, who lives in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, arrived a few days after the glider invasion itself, but is the last surviving member of the unit. Today, he proudly saluted during a ceremony at the Pegasus Bridge Museum.
The last surviving officer to have actually served in the operation – which has been hailed as ‘the single most important ten minutes of the war’ – was Colonel David Wood, who died in 2009 aged 85.
Other veterans yesterday spoke of their pride at attending the D-Day 75th anniversary event in Portsmouth along with world leaders, describing it as an emotional chance to remember their comrades who did not return.
The 300 veterans were joined by more than 4,000 personnel involved in D-Day events in the UK and
The memorial in Portsmouth featured an hour-long production telling the story of the invasion and a spectacular flypast by RAF warplanes past and present, including a display by the Red Arrows and Spitfires.
Other events included a ceremony at Pegasus Bridge in France – the scene of a 15-minute skirmish to take hold of the pathways over the Caen Canal and River Orne, and one of the first places British troops liberated on D-Day.
This was attended by D-Day veterans including Reg Charles, 96, the last surviving member of a heroic glider assault on the bridge.
The event also saw four veterans receive the Legion d’Honneur – radio operator Marie Scott, 92, RAF flight lieutenant Donald Mason, 98, Alfred Nutbein, 93, and Len Trewin, of 8th Battalion, Parachute Regiment.
Yesterday, veterans Harry Read, 95, and John Hutton, 94, will parachute into Normandy in honour of comrades they lost when they first made the descent 75 years ago onto fields at Sannerville.
They will follow US Second World War paratrooper veteran Tom Rice, 97, who served with the 101st Airbone, who landed safely yesterday following a commemorative parachute jump over Carentan on the Normandy coast.
Veterans who survived D-Day were guests of honour at today’s commemorations in Portsmouth attended by world leaders
A veteran of the 6th Airborne Division puts his head in his hands during a ceremony at Pegasus Bridge in France yesterday
The Portsmouth memorial yesterday featured a flypast by RAF warplanes past and present, including a display by the Red Arrows
The Red Arrows flypast takes place, watched by attendees of the 75th anniversary of D-Day in Portsmouth yesterday
The Red Arrows fly over Portsmouth in 9 Arrow Formation in Portsmouth yesterday. This photo was taken from Red 8’s aircraft
In Portsmouth, Sergeant John Jenkins, 99, did a reading at the National Commemorative Event attended by the Queen, US President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Theresa May and leaders of other involved nations.
The veteran received a standing ovation from the President and the Queen as he led tributes. Mr Jenkins, who is from Portsmouth, was serving with the Pioneer Corps on D-Day and landed on Gold Beach on June 8 in 1944.
He said: ‘Obviously I will think of all my mates that didn’t come back. I can’t say any particular one because we were all comrades together, that was the thing. We were all comrades together and that’s what carries us through.
‘The comradeship was really something quite marvellous.’ Mr Jenkins said he felt ‘overwhelmed’ to be at the service and to be chosen to do a reading. ‘It is something that will last in my memory for a long time,’ he said.
D-Day veteran John Jenkins (pictured above) on stage at the commemorations at Southsea Common in Portsmouth yesterday
He added: ‘I was terrified. I think everyone was – you don’t show it, but it’s there. I look back on it as a big part of my life, it changed me in a way – but I was just a small part in a very big machine.
‘You never forget your comrades because we were all in there together. It’s right that the courage and sacrifice of so many veterans is being honoured 75 years on.
‘We must never forget – thank you.’ His words moved many other veterans and attendees to tears during the service.’
After the war Mr Jenkins worked as a bus driver then as a crane operator at the Portsmouth naval base.
Proud of his country and being a dedicated to his service, he went on to serve in the Territorial Army for many years, rising to the rank of Company Sergeant Major.
He is a lifelong Portsmouth fan and recently said that one message he would give to the generation of tomorrow is for there to be ‘no more wars’.
D-Day veteran, 95, who arrived first on Sword Beach after his landing craft took a direct hit is reunited with a white ensign 75 years later
Signalman Frank Baugh is reunited with the white ensign which was hoisted on Queen Red Sector of Sword Beach in June 1994
A 95-year-old war veteran who landed on Sword Beach 75 years ago was yesterday reunited with a white ensign that had been hoisted to establish a beachhead.
Signalman Frank Baugh landed on the Queen Red sector in Normandy during the Second World War as part of the D-Day invasions at 7.25am on June 6, 1944.
He was serving with the Royal Navy on landing craft LCI(L)380, part of Flotilla 253 which carried members of the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, 2nd Batallion.
They were the first craft to land on the sector and took a direct hit from Nazi fire on their approach – but by 8am, the flag had been hoisted on the sand.
Mr Baugh, who now lives in Doncaster, told the Yorkshire Post this week of his arrival at Sword Beach: ‘We found it empty. We were the first landing craft on that section of that beach and that’s not a good place to be in the front.’
The veteran did not return to Normandy for 65 years after the invasion, saying: ‘On D-Day, I never expected living the next hour, never mind to 95.’
He added: ‘The beach was littered with lads who had been killed. It’s an awful feeling. You’re frightened. But you do your job. You have to do it and you don’t want to let your pals down.’
Arthur Hampson, 93, from Merseyside, was a midshipman with the Royal Navy on D-Day, landing on Juno Beach. ‘As the ramp went down, there was quite a lot of fire coming at us from the shore,’ he said.
‘We could see the red flashes coming from houses that the Germans were in on the waterfront. We were popping at the window where we could see that the enemy was shooting at us.’
He described the service as a ‘great experience’ but said he did not regard himself as a hero.
Mr Hampson said that after D-Day, he returned to Portsmouth. ‘I was having a quiet pint in a pub in Southsea,’ he said.
‘The past 24 hours seemed unreal. We were talking to people in the pub and I think they didn’t believe a word we were saying.’
Les Hammond, 94, from Northampton, a craftsman in the 86 Anti-tank Regiment, who was 19 when he landed on Juno Beach, said: ‘It’s quite emotional I suppose, I didn’t think I would feel like this but I do.
‘I am very much a royalist and I am proud of my country. I intend to live a few more years and have nice memories of today.’
Alfred Fuzzard, 97, from Bexhill-On-Sea, East Sussex, a former petty officer in the Royal Navy who grew up in Portsmouth and who landed on Sword Beach, said: ‘I wouldn’t have missed D-Day for the world.
‘The weather was a bit rough when we went over but it calmed down when we got close to the beach.
‘I think it’s lovely, I am a fan of Trump actually, I would like to see him as prime minister of this country, shake the bunkers up.
‘Trump has been good for his people but the trouble is that before he opens his mouth, he should think. I would like to meet him because I will ask him if he’s immigrating.
‘I don’t know what lessons you can learn, it’s up to politicians, they drag us into wars don’t they.
‘We belong to a great nation and the finest fighting people in the world I think. I have seen some very brave men and it’s been wonderful here to meet all these old people and what they gave.
‘In an operation you only see your part, you don’t see what is going on around you whereas here you can hear other people’s stories and it’s been bloody marvellous.’
The elite bands of brothers who were the first troops into Normandy on D-Day
Operation Overlord saw some 156,000 Allied troops landing in Normandy on June 6, 1944.
It is thought as many as 4,400 were killed in an operation Winston Churchill described as ‘undoubtedly the most complicated and difficult that has ever taken place’.
The assault was conducted in two phases: an airborne landing of 24,000 British, American, Canadian and Free French airborne troops shortly after midnight, and an amphibious landing of Allied infantry and armoured divisions on the coast of France commencing at 6.30am.
The operation was the largest amphibious invasion in world history, with over 160,000 troops landing. Some 195,700 Allied naval and merchant navy personnel in over 5,000 ships were involved.
The operation was the largest amphibious invasion in world history, with over 160,000 troops landing. Some 195,700 Allied naval and merchant navy personnel in over 5,000 ships were involved.
The landings took place along a 50-mile stretch of the Normandy coast divided into five sectors: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword.
The assault was chaotic with boats arriving at the wrong point and others getting into difficulties in the water.
Destruction in the northern French town of Carentan after the invasion in June 1944
Troops managed only to gain a small foothold on the beach – but they built on their initial breakthrough in the coming days and a harbour was opened at Omaha.
They met strong resistance from the German forces who were stationed at strongpoints along the coastline.
Approximately 10,000 allies were injured or killed, inlcuding 6,603 American, of which 2,499 were fatal.
Between 4,000 and 9,000 German troops were killed – and it proved the pivotal moment of the war, in the allied forces’ favour.
The first wave of troops from the US Army takes cover under the fire of Nazi guns in 1944