D-Day commemoration plans take shape

An amphibious Sherman tank used by the Allies during the Normandy landings is preserved near Juno Be

An amphibious Sherman tank used by the Allies during the Normandy landings is preserved near Juno Beach. Photo by Chris Carson - Credit: Archant

An extensive programme of events will take place in Lyme Regis to mark the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings

PLANS are taking shape for D-Day 70th anniversary commemorations in Lyme Regis.

A public meeting was held in the town last week to share ideas of how the event could be marked in June 2014.

Facilitated by Lyme Regis Town Council and supported by the town’s museum and the local branch of the Royal British Legion, a series of events is planned to mark seven decades since the Normandy landings.

American soldiers were based in Lyme Regis as they prepared for the invasion on June 6, 1944, and local men were also involved in the battle for Normandy.

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Initial ideas that came from the meeting, at the Woodmead Halls, included collecting memories from those who lived in the town in 1944 and collating them in a book.

Project organisers are also keen to involve people who now live in Lyme Regis but remember the lead-up to D-Day in other parts of the country.

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There were suggestions to get local shops and businesses involved by having special window displays, and for local cafes and restaurants to serve a 1940s dish.

Ideas for special events included a 1940s style dance, and a commemorative ceremony at the parish church at 6am – the time of the first Normandy assault.

There was a suggestion to investigate which local buildings had been used for the preparations and perhaps hold events in them.

Lyme Regis Museum is researching all the local men who died in battle and intends to produce maps and a display covering all Lyme’s casualties.

Museum curator David Tucker said he was very keen on putting the emphasis on the local lads who fought, but were not necessarily based in Lyme Regis in the weeks leading up to the attacks.

It is hoped local schools will be heavily involved and St Michael’s Primary School has already started thinking about how the children could contribute to the commemorations and learn about the era.

One local resident remembered how the American GIs used to wash their jeeps in the river and it was hoped this could be re-created.

Deputy town clerk Mark Tredwin said: “It was a very positive meeting with lots of interesting ideas raised.

“We are keen to get as many local people as possible involved in the commemorations to make this a real town event.

“We hope a community group will emerge over the coming months to take these ideas forward, with the intention of holding a second public meeting before the end of the year.”

Anyone who would like to be involved with the planning or has suggestions for events is asked to contact the town council offices on 01297 445175 or email assistant@lymeregistowncouncil.gov.uk

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