D-Day 80 in White Cliffs Country

History and commemoration

About this article

  • Published on
  • Area Deal, Dover, Sandwich
  • Category Events, History & heritage, Music

On 5 and 6 June this year, a series of major commemorations in the UK and France to mark the 80th anniversary of the Normandy Landings will honour the brave personnel who risked their lives for freedom and peace.

Although Dover was not the embarkation point for the D-Day invasion, it played an important part in Operation Fortitude South, an intricate plan aimed at hoodwinking the Germans about the invasion location. The Germans were duped into believing that a fictitious Allied force was amassing in Kent and would cross the Strait of Dover invading the Pas de Calais, rather than Normandy, and involved dummy tanks, replica landing craft and airfields and misleading radio traffic emanating from the Dover area. The success of this major deception was critical to the success of D-Day. Read more fascinating detail about Operation Fortitude on the English Heritage website.

Black and white photo of dummy landing craft in Dover Harbour in 1944.
Replica landing craft in Dover Harbour c.1944. These were to give the impression to the enemy, watching from the French coast, that a large force was amassing in the area to invade the Pas de Calais when in fact the invasion force was readying itself farther west in Hampshire and Dorset ready to head across to Normandy.

Eighty years on from D-Day, one of the most famous events of World War II, there are several commemorative events taking place on 6 June here in White Cliffs Country:

Dover – an evening of live musical entertainment organised by Dover Town Council begins at 6pm on the Marina Curve, followed by lighting the beacon at Dover Castle at 9.15pm, shown via live stream.

Sandwich – beginning at 8am with the Town Crier at The Guildhall, Sandwich commemorates D-Day with an exhibition in the Guildhall Museum (open 10am-4pm), followed by live music on Quay Green starting at 6pm with the lighting of the beacon at 9.15pm.

St Margaret’s Bay – starting at 5.30pm in the bay with live music, fete stalls and games, food and drink and a display of military vehicles, the evening will culminate in the lighting of the beacon at 9.15pm. There will be soldier silhouettes placed around the village with QR codes for local historic information.

Capel-le-Ferne and Battle of Britain Memorial – the Memorial will be floodlit and open from 8-10pm and the beacon will be lit at 9.15pm, heralded by a bugle call. Visitors will be joined at 8.30pm by a torchlit procession from Capel-le-Ferne where the parish council is organising a fish and chip supper in the Village Hall at 6.30pm, plus 1940s music.

On 8 June, the Dover White Cliffs Branch of the Royal British Legion has organised a parade and memorial service on Dover Seafront. The parade will form up at 10.30am by the Royal Cinque Ports Yacht Club on Marine Parade, then march to the Marina Curve where a service will take place at 11am, followed by entertainment for everyone to enjoy.