6th June, 1944
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends
(John 15 v. 13-17)
Seventy five years ago today Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy; code-named D-Day it was the beginning of Operation Overlord, the campaign to liberate Nazi-occupied north-West Europe. Regarded as the largest amphibious invasion ever undertaken and reputed to have been twelve months in planning it was, according to Churchill, a “vast operation … undoubtedly the most complicated and difficult that has ever occurred”.
Within three months the Northern part of France was free, but inevitably the price of victory was high; records are sketchy but the accepted estimate for the number of Allied casualties on D-Day alone is 10,000. With great humility we offer our thanks to all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom, truth and justice.
WE WILL REMEMBER THEM
Little Ships (Unknown)
It was a quarter to six, on the morning in June
When the little ships took to the sea
Loaded with men of all nations
The “Vanguard”, to set the world free.
They were guarded aloft by the Air-Force
And covered each side by the fleet
Each clad-man was sure of his task
In smashing the foe he would meet.
The sea was white-crested and angry.
For more than eight miles they struggled
To keep their formations intact
And when close to shore, where they came under fire
Neither mortar, nor shell, held them back.
They all heard the fire of the big naval guns
And the shells that were screaming o’erhead
Exploding with roars, midst the enemy ranks
And strewing the fore-shore with dead.
As these tiny craft beached at seven twenty-five
That same morning on Normandy shore
To a person who watched could plainly be seen
That freedom was saved “Evermore”.
As the allied troops swept up the beaches
Those small craft again faced the sea
Save those craft that were sunk by gunfire or stake
And had perished for “Liberty”.
And now the Invasion is over
And soon will be talked of no more
Still, I know that “Glenearn” will never forget
That day, June the sixth, forty four.