Commemorating D-Day: 80th Anniversary Observance | Streatham & Clapham High School

Commemorating D-Day: 80th Anniversary Observance

Today marks the 80th anniversary of D-Day, a pivotal moment in World War II history. On 6 June 1944, Allied forces launched the largest amphibious invasion ever along the Normandy coast in France. This operation was a critical turning point in the war, enabling the United Kingdom, the United States, and their allies to gain a substantial foothold in mainland Europe and begin the liberation from German occupation.

The invasion began early in the morning when Allied airborne forces parachuted into drop zones across northern France. Following this, 150,000 ground troops landed on five key beaches – Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword – supported by a fleet of over 5,000 ships and boats. By the end of that momentous day, the Allies had secured a significant beachhead, allowing them to advance further into France.

Our school celebrates this historic day, recognising the incredible cooperation and coordination among international armed forces that D-Day required. Military leaders had to navigate and overcome political, cultural, and personal differences to achieve this remarkable feat.

In preparation for D-Day, more than two million troops from over 12 countries gathered in Britain. The Allied forces on D-Day were a diverse group, including American, British, and Canadian troops, as well as Australian, Belgian, Czech, Dutch, French, Greek, New Zealand, Norwegian, Rhodesian (now Zimbabwean), and Polish naval, air, and ground support units.

Today, world leaders, including the King, President Biden of the United States, and President Macron of France, are in Normandy to honour the bravery and sacrifices made 80 years ago. The number of veterans who can attend these commemorations is dwindling; five years ago, 225 British veterans travelled to Normandy. This year, only 23, now nearly 100 years old, were able to make the journey.

Prince William expressed gratitude to Canadian veterans this morning for their “extraordinary acts of bravery and sacrifice.” In his speech, the King prayed that the sacrifices made 80 years ago “never be made again,” ending with a powerful reminder that “our gratitude is unfailing, and our admiration eternal.”

As we reflect on this historic day, we encourage our school community to remember the stories and contributions of their own families who played a part in the war effort, especially those involved in the D-Day landings.

Mr Chessun, along with Year 8 students Daniella, Grace, and Summer, shared further reflections and readings during our observance ceremony.

To conclude the ceremony, an extract from Laurence Binyon’s poem “For the Fallen” was read, honouring all those who lost their lives in action:

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old,

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,

We will remember them.”

As we commemorate this significant anniversary, let us look forward to the future and commit to being forces for peace in all that we do.

Sign up to receive updates

Your interests