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Emma Caldwell

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D-Day 80th Anniversary in Bucks

D-Day, one of the most pivotal moments in World War II, marked the Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. It was a massive coordinated effort involving thousands of soldiers from various Allied nations, aimed at liberating Western Europe from Nazi control. The operation involved intricate planning, deception tactics, and immense courage from the troops who stormed the beaches under heavy fire. Despite facing formidable defenses, Allied forces achieved a foothold in Normandy, setting the stage for the eventual liberation of Europe from Nazi tyranny. D-Day stands as a testament to the bravery and sacrifice of all those who participated, forever etching its place in history as a turning point in the fight against oppression.

Buckinghamshire, played a crucial role in the preparations for D-Day. The county housed various military bases, airfields, and training grounds where Allied forces prepared for the invasion of Normandy.

RAF Halton, for instance, served as a training center for aircrew, while military camps at Waddesdon Manor accommodated troops awaiting deployment. Additionally, the town of High Wycombe hosted Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) facilities, where General Dwight D. Eisenhower and his staff finalized plans for the historic invasion. Buckinghamshire's contribution to D-Day underscores the significance of coordination, training, and strategic planning that occurred far from the beaches of Normandy.

The Buckinghamshire Light Infantry played a notable role in the D-Day landings, particularly in the famous capture of Pegasus Bridge. On the night of June 5-6, 1944, as part of Operation Deadstick, troops from the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, along with elements of the Glider Pilot Regiment, landed near the Caen Canal and the River Orne in Normandy. Their objective was to secure two vital bridges, Pegasus Bridge and Horsa Bridge, to prevent German reinforcements from reaching the invasion beaches.

Led by Major John Howard, the soldiers successfully landed in gliders just meters away from their targets. Despite encountering heavy resistance, they swiftly overwhelmed the German defenders and secured both bridges intact. The capture of Pegasus Bridge, in particular, was a critical achievement, as it prevented German armoured units from counterattacking the invasion beaches. The operation showcased the courage, skill, and determination of the Buckinghamshire Light Infantry and their comrades, marking a significant early success on D-Day.

Photos Courtesy of Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum.

Events and Commemorative Services in our Area:

  • Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum

    There is so much to do at the museum, from family trails and dressing up. Make sure you give your family plenty of time to experience the county's only military museum.

    The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry committed three battalions to the Normandy campaign in 1944, with two landing on the 6th June 1944 - one by air, one by sea.

  • Aylesbury Branch of the Royal British Legion

    On June 8th they're holding a short service in Market Square Aylesbury. It starts at 10.30 am, with a two minute silence at 11 am, followed by wreath laying. The deputy Lord Lieutenant, County and Town dignitaries will be in attendance as well as representatives from all the Youth Groups, including the Service cadets, Scouts, Guides, members of the Salvation Army, RNA plus a large contingent from the RBL.
    A Pipe Band will open and close the Service, and a Lament will be played during the wreath laying. The Bugler from the Salvation Army will also play.

  • Haddenham

  • Chiltern View Garden Centre D-Day Anniversary Afternoon tea & entertainment

    A Free event to commemorate The 80th anniversary of the D Day Landings on Thursday 6th June. Chiltern View Garden Centre will be providing afternoon tea & entertainment from The D-Day Darlings. Spaces are limited so you need to email to confirm your attendance. There is no charge - the event has been provided by Suzi for the commemoration.

  • Princes Risborough D-Day 80th Anniversary Commemorative Beacon Lighting

    The Beacon is one of many being lit across the Nation to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day. D-Day on 6 June 1944 was the largest Naval, Air, and land operation in history. Residents and friends of Princes Risborough are invited to join Princes Risborough Town Council in the Stratton Memorial Garden.

  • Wing Parish Council

  • Beaconsfield Town Council Beacon

  • Crusader Holidays have an amazing Normandy trip coming up in August.

    Normandy begs to be explored and this August departure gives you the final opportunity to witness the extraordinary 'Standing with Giants' art installation at the British Normandy Memorial.


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