The 6th of June 2024 marked 80 years since the D-Day landings, the largest seaborne invasion in history and the beginning of the liberation of Western Europe.

Brought together by the land, air, and sea, brave allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy into Nazi-occupied France under the code name ‘Operation Overlord’.

For British soldiers, the mission at Gold Beach was to capture the Meuvaines Ridge and advance inland towards Bayeux, linking up with Canadian allies at Juno Beach and US allies at Omaha Beach.

It was a battle which lasted twelve weeks, and by the end of August 1944 the allies had successfully reached the Seine River, Paris was liberated, and the Germans had been removed from northwestern France.

The battle was the start of Hitler’s downfall, and in 1945 Germany surrendered, marking the end of WW2.

During a range of special ceremonies, the College honoured and celebrated the lives of the 22,442 servicemen and women under British command who fell on D-Day and during the Battle of Normandy, and remembered how their bravery and ultimate sacrifice gave us and our country the greatest gift: freedom.

One of those who fought for our freedom was Old Framlinghamian Major Kenneth Mayhew, who played a pivotal role during D-Day in the liberation of the Netherlands from Nazi occupation.

Ken has been honoured for his brave endeavours in British independent featured film entitled ‘The Bloodiest Square Mile’, which follows his heroic actions as well as being a poignant tribute to all the D-Day Veterans of the 1st Battalion the Suffolk Regiment.

Created by Angus Robertson and Graeme Hodges, and narrated by Tony Slater, the film was premiered to pupils across the College as a key educational and remembrance tool, ensuring the younger generation never forget the historic events and immense sacrifice of that period.

On Thursday 6th June 2024, a special assembly service was held at the Prep School, with remembrance poems read by Year 8 pupils Catharine UP and Mylo HR before parents and members of the school community gathered on the Terrace dressed in red, white and blue for a 1940s style celebration tea party.

At the Senior School, a D-Day chapel service opened with ‘I Vow To Thee My Country’ alongside a CCF stand to honour. WO2 (SSI) Roy Witham honoured veterans and recalled their stories of courage during the landings at Normandy, with special tributes to veteran Stanley Hollis who received the only Victoria Cross awarded for actions on D-Day.

Both services ended with closing prayers; one which was read out by President Roosevelt on the morning of D-Day back on June 6th 1944, and a new prayer released by the Church of England in honour of the 80th anniversary:

God our refuge and strength,
as we remember those
who faced danger and death in Normandy,
eighty years ago,
grant us courage to pursue what is right,
the will to work with others,
and strength to overcome tyranny and oppression,
through Jesus Christ,
to whom belong dominion and glory,
now and for ever.

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