By Helen Shingler:
On Thursday 6th of June across Europe and the U.S. we commemorated 75 years since D-DAY, the day that saw the Allied invasion which began the liberation of western Europe from Nazi occupation. None of us can truly imagine how different the world we live in today would have been had the Allied forces not been ultimately successful in the mission they set out to fulfil.
Here in Bude, many shops were decorated to show our gratitude to those who lost their lives for freedom and to the veterans who are still here to tell their incredibly humbling stories.
The flagpole on Summerleaze Downs flew national flags from all the countries involved in the D-Day landings; many of us think of just the Americans and the British forces landing on those beaches but many other countries took part. By the war memorial mound behind Neetside, 650 crosses were placed in the early hours of Thursday 6th of June around the time of the first landings on the beaches of Normandy.
The D-Day 75 Memorial Service itself was held at 10.45 am on the 6th and lead by Deacon Debbie Marsh who conducted the poignant service. The skies were blue and many of those looking out over the Atlantic ocean would have pondered on how different the weather was 75 years ago when 150,000 Allied troops landed on those beaches in France. It was, at that time, the largest seaborne invasion in military history and a pivotal event in WWII. Wreaths were laid at the Rangers Memorial Stone, the Last Post sounded and then a moment of silence. Elizabeth Hobbs sang a touchingly beautiful solo and a tribute was read by Mr Brian Woolcott who was 10 years old when the Rangers arrived in Bude in December 1943.
Then the children of Bude School read the Kohima Epitaph
‘When you go home
Tell them of us and say
For your tomorrow
We gave our day’
We shall never forget them …………….