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80th anniversary of D-Day to be celebrated in style in Weymouth

A raft of exciting plans to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day in Weymouth was discussed at Environment and Services Committee on Wednesday 6th March.

Weymouth Town Council has allocated £5,000 towards various activities to run on Thursday 6th June to mark the 80th anniversary and is also working with Portland Town Council and Dorset Council to coordinate several events that will make Weymouth and Portland a focal point for people to come to and enjoy this once in a generation occasion.  

Events agreed by the committee include working with the Nothe Fort to host two early evening sessions where access to the fort is free for the local community. These sessions can accommodate up to 400 visitors at one time and will feature a D-Day exhibition, entertainment and potential talks or workshops. A ticketed beacon lighting event for dignitaries will also take place with 100 tickets made available to the public.  

A 1940s-themed van would also serve up portions of the seaside classic fish and chips at the Nothe, and the Town Council is exploring whether some portions could be provided for free. This activity has been chosen to tie in with National Fish and Chip Day which has been moved to June 6th this year to coincide with the D-Day anniversary. 

A bid for a RAF flypast has been submitted by Group Captain RAF (Retd) R J Tripp on behalf of Weymouth and Portland to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day. If the bid is successful, the flypast will be visible across the Isle of Portland and Weymouth Bay at approximately 11am on the 6th, but is weather dependent and subject to national commitments. 

The Nothe Fort is also developing an exhibition highlighting the human cost of D-Day, designed to be family-friendly. The story will be conveyed through models, video presentations, newspaper reports, voice recordings of residents’ stories, and images from Weymouth Museum. 

A possible static display of military vehicles either on Weymouth’s seafront or at the fort to showcase some of the vehicles that are normally involved in the Town Council’s Armed Forces Weekend event. If the vehicles are available this will be free to visit and take photos. 

A local Weymouth Punch and Judy operator will also be designing a WWII / D-Day themed show, which will be free to watch on the seafront in its regular location. 

Cllr Ryan Hope, Chair of Environment and Services Committee, said: “Weymouth is set to be the place to be for people wishing to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day. We’re proud to be able to support our Armed Forces community by putting on a wide range of events to honour them, and also attract visitors to the town who might even view Weymouth differently when confronted with its rich military history. These events are in addition to our annual Armed Forces Weekend which takes place over the weekend of June 22nd and 23rd.”

Cllr Christine James, Weymouth Town Council’s Armed Forces Covenant Champion, added: “Weymouth’s historical connection with D-Day has been well documented and so it’s fitting that the town will become a focal point for those wishing to reflect on the past while also learning more about what happened in the run up to D-Day. Thousands of troops prepared to disembark from Weymouth harbour to play their part in one of the biggest military operations in history, and 80 years on, it is still just as important to remember the sacrifices they made.” 

What happens next?

The plans will now go to Full Council on Wednesday 20th March where Councillors will also consider further options once funding for these have been discussed with partners including Dorset Council. These include a Weymouth D-Day immersive soundscape for the Nothe’s observational tower. An outdoor big screen to broadcast the national commemorations being aired on TV, either at Nothe Gardens or along the seafront. 

Weymouth Museum would like to create a presentation to be shared with Weymouth schools during assemblies in June. The images would be taken from Weymouth Museum’s collection and there would be supporting notes to be used by teachers for KS2 & KS3. 

Grants of up to £350 per group could be available to go towards supporting community-based events or activities, with a total of £3,500 up for grabs. The money could be used to help fund costs such as food, refreshments, decorations, entertainment, equipment, activity materials, displays, insurance, venue hire, and marketing costs. 

A WWII British aircraft static display which could include a Spitfire, a Hurricane, or another aircraft which would be available for members of the public to view either along the seafront or at The Nothe Gardens. Ticketed D-Day tours around Weymouth town are also suggested. 

A decision on these will be taken at Full Council and further details on all the plans to commemorate the day will be publicised in due course. 

To read the committee report, visit www.weytmouthtowncouncil.gov.uk/committee


Notes to Editors  

The latest information and updates about the ongoing construction works will be shared by Weymouth Town Council’s website, Facebook, and X pages.