D-Day 75 in Portsmouth — Definitive Guide All You Need to Know

Portsmouth is proud to be the focal point of the world’s commemorations for D-Day 75.

Events to mark the occasion are scheduled throughout June 2019 at various locations around the city including Southsea Common, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, and the newly renovated D-Day museum ‘The D-Day Story’. Be sure to visit The D-Day Story throughout June during their opening times of 10:00am to 5:30pm. Please note that The D-Day Story will be closed on 5th June.

Official commemorations will start with a ceremonial event on Southsea Common on the 5th June commencing a full 5 days of activity, including flypasts, military parades, a revival, music, and more. Throughout the commemorations, current serving personnel from our armed forces will be there to assist veterans in both the UK and in France.

A bit of History

D-Day began on 6 June 1944 when allied forces launched a combined naval, air and land assault on occupied Europe. It was the largest invasion ever assembled, with 156,000 allied troops arriving on five beaches in Normandy. 

Southsea and Portsmouth have many connections to this vital operation that led to the liberation of Europe. Portsmouth was the main departure point for military and naval units going to Sword Beach in Normandy. Troops boarded landing craft from South Parade Pier; and troops were camped in the woods to the north and east of the city.

To commemorate this important part of our history, Portsmouth is playing host to a range of family-friendly events.

D-Day Veterans in Portsmouth

Around 500 Normandy veterans will be attending a special event of June 5th on Southsea Common where they’ll be joined by 14 invited heads of state and members of the Royal Family.

Before sunset on 5 June, the specially-chartered ship will transport veterans across the channel to Normandy. Throughout the commemorations, current serving personnel from armed forces around the world will be on-hand to assist veterans in both the UK and in France.

The people of Portsmouth can expect to meet many forces veterans during the commemorations, as they pay their respects and share memories of this historic event. For more information on veteran talks and events head to the D-Day Story website or follow them on Twitter.

D-Day Story website » https://theddaystory.com
D-Day Story on Twitter » https://twitter.com/theddaystory

Secretary of State for Defence, The Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP, said: “Your actions in 1944 were the vital springboard to the liberation of Europe and the end of the Second World War. The breathtaking bravery and ingenuity you showed during those days still echo through our nation’s armed forces and society as a whole.”

D-Day 75th Anniversary Events in Portsmouth. Dates and Times.

5TH JUNE SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:

An event organised by the Ministry of Defence in association with The Royal British Legion will take place inside a green gated area of Southsea Common behind The Portsmouth Naval Memorial. This event is invite only and will include veterans and their guests, heads of state, and royal family members.

Heads of state include Donald Trump and the First Lady, UK Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison, and more still to be confirmed.

Royals include the Queen, who’ll be accompanied by Prince Charles and other family members.

The event will be televised and will can also be viewed via large screens broadcasting to Southsea Common. The remaining areas of Southsea Common outside of the private green gated arena will be open to the public.

As to be expected with an event of this magnitude on 5th June, security around the area of Southsea Common will be extremely high. Expect bag searches and an increased police presence as you approach the event site perimeter.

The general site perimeter can be seen in yellow on the map below, and the invite only area of Southsea Common is highlighted in red.

*Note this red area is only closed during the Ministry of Defence’s private event on 5th June.

The Pyramids will be closed Tuesday 4th June and Wednesday 5th June.

Southsea Castle will be closed on Wednesday 5 June.

The D-Day Story will be closed on Wednesday 5 June.

Once the national commemorative event has finished on 5th June, security measures will be removed as quickly as possible and the common will be open for everyone. All events after the national commemoration are open to everyone, are free of charge, and no tickets are needed.

DDay-Portsmouth-Road-site-closure-map

At 11:30am The D-Day 75 National Commemorative Event will take place on Southsea Common. Veterans will join today’s Armed Forces and VIPs for a BBC programme of live music, performance, and flypasts. Large screens will be provided on the common for members of the public who wish to watch the event.

At 12:45pm (approx) A Royal Navy frigate will fire a naval gun salute followed by a spectacular flypast of up to 25 historic and modern RAF aircraft including the Red Arrows and the iconic spitfire.

At 4:00pm The Red Arrows will return for a breath-taking display of speed and agility above Southsea Common.

At 6:25pm The Royal British Legion’s specially chartered ship, the MV Boudicca, will set sail from Portsmouth with 300 veterans to Normandy. HMS St Albans, a Type-23 Royal Navy frigate, will escort the MV Boudicca along with four smaller Royal Navy vessels. Royal Navy ships docked in port will pay their respects, before the ship emerges into the Solent to be met by a flotilla of Royal Navy vessels who will sail past her in salute with sailors lining the decks. Members of the public are encouraged to line key vantage points to wave off the veterans as they retrace the journey they made in 1944.

At 7:40pm (approx) The RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will fly over Portsmouth to mark the departure of The Royal British Legion’s ship.

red arrows at southsea common for d-day events
red arrows at southsea common for d-day events
spitfire flyby for d-day

6TH JUNE SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:

At 10:45am
a Remembrance Service will take place at the D-Day Stone in Southsea, close to South Parade Pier. There will be music from the Band of the Royal Marines.

Big screens on Southsea Common and Portsmouth Guildhall Square will show live coverage of events occurring in Normandy, including an evening of music and entertainment from the beaches of Arromanches.

D-Day stone southsea
d-day stone veterans southsea

D-Day 70: Portsmouth Pauses For Remembrance at the D-Day Stone in Southsea

DUKW at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Visit the Second World War DUKW at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

For one day only step back in time and have your photograph with this amphibious vehicle originally created by the Americans for use in the Second World War.

In the D-Day landings this type of craft was a useful addition to the fleet that left Portsmouth for Normandy.

It's a rare opportunity to see a fantastic piece of naval history that, for conservation reasons, is not usually on display to the public. Find out more via the link below »

https://www.historicdockyard.co.uk/events-by-date/event/1734-visit-the-second-world-war-dukw

No6 Cinema commemorates D-Day 75

All tickets £10.00 available from www.no6cinema.co.uk

n06 cinema d-day

On 6th June, No6 Cinema will pay homage to those who took part in the D-Day landings by hosting two screenings and talks by Nick Hewitt, The National Museum of the Royal Navy's Head of Exhibitions and Collections, and Dr Toby Haggith from the Imperial War Museum's film department.

The first of two films will be The True Glory (1945), a documentary account of the allied invasion of Europe during the Second World War. Toby will be introducing The True Glory offering insight from his position at the Imperial War Museum.

Before the next film Nick will be giving a special talk about the museum's extraordinary D-Day survivor, LCT 7074: the last of around 800 Landing Craft (Tank) which took part in the D-Day landings and rescued by the National Museum in 2014. Find out more about the landing craft here »

The second film is Overlord (1975) the dramatic account of a young lad who is called up for training. He has an increasing sense of foreboding leading up to the D-Day landings.

Approximate schedule for the day.

  • 13.00 -14.30 The True Glory (87mins)

  • 14.30 - 14.45 break.

  • 14.45 -15.15 Nick Hewitt talk (30mins).

  • 15.15 -15.30 break

  • 15.30 - 17.00 Overlord (83mins)


FRIDAY 7TH JUNE SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:

Portsmouth Music Hub will begin the commemorative events on 7th June with a performance on Southsea Common of a special composition for D-Day 75. The performance will see around 25 pupils aged 5-18, as well as Marines musicians perform their brand new song '6th of June 1944'.

Evening entertainment opens with a special military band performance. Then, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra will perform its own D-Day 75 composition on Southsea Common. The piece, written by James Olsen for a specially formed young person’s choir, is inspired by the reminiscences of D-Day veterans and the D-Day Story.

The evening will conclude with a children’s film screening on the big screen at Southsea Common. The film that gets aired will be voted on by the public.

At 10.30am Portsmouth Music Hub performance
At 5:00pm Military Band
At 6:00pm Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
At 7:00pm Open-air childrens film screening on the big screen. Bedknobs and Broomsticks.


d-day dancing southsea common.jpg

SATURDAY 8TH JUNE SCHEDULE OF EVENTS IN SOUTHSEA

All day - The Portsmouth Revival Festival will be taking place all weekend across Southsea Common. This free to attend, un-ticketed event will include music, 1940s themed activities, dancing, a market from local favourites Love Southsea Markets, vintage vehicles, fairground ride, and war film screenings on the big screens.

9:00am - Public event opens Southsea Common

10:30 -11:00am - Royal Marines marching band, Arena

11:00 -11:30 - Vintage and Military vehicle display, arena

12:00pm to 18:00pm - Community performances, main stage

12:30pm to 1:30 - RAF working dogs

3:45pm - Red arrows flypast

7:00pm to 10:00pm - Heroes concert

7:30pm to 8:00pm - Military Wives Choir

8:25 to 9:10pm - Royal marines association concert band

9:25 to 10:00pm - D-Day Darlings

10:00pm - A seafront fireworks display will take place, sponsored and organised by Gunwharf Quays. The fireworks will be set off on the water, behind the war memorial, providing a beautiful view for onlookers from Southsea Common, and will last for around 15 minutes.

The fireworks display has been specially designed for the event and will be set to a nostalgic soundtrack.

11:00pm - Public event closes

8TH JUNE ALTERNATIVE EVENT - Southwick D-Day 75 Revival:

southwick revival Map

For the sixth year running, the village of Southwick joins with Southwick Park to commemorate the anniversary of D-Day by offering an exciting and unique opportunity for visitors from all over the world to breathe in the atmosphere of those historic days at the nerve-centre of Operation Overlord.

The event will include exclusive D-Day map room visits, evening event Overlord 75 at Southwick House, the Military Wives Choir concert in St James Church, talks by renowned World War II military historians, 1940s school lessons in the Old Schoolhouse, Royal Navy Cadet Field Gun Challenge (Squire’s Paddock), World War II military vehicles display and motorcades, Swing dance lessons, Steam bus rides, live music, and a walking history tour.

Find out more about the event here » https://www.southwickrevival.co.uk/


SUNDAY 9TH JUNE SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:

All day on Southsea Common.
The Portsmouth Revival Festival continues across Southsea Common. This free to attend, un-ticketed event will include music, 1940s themed activities, dancing, a market from local favourites Love Southsea Markets, vintage vehicles, fairground ride, and war film screenings on the big screens.

9:00am - Public event opens Southsea Common

11:30am to 12:00pm - Vintage and Military vehicle display, arena

12:00pm to 5:00pm - Community performances, main stage

3:00pm to 4:00pm - Vintage and Military vehicle display, arena

6:00pm - Public event closes


SATURDAY 22ND JUNE

The Polish D-Day story
D-Day Museum (included in the admission price)
Discover the role that Poland’s military played during the Normandy landings. 

SUNDAY 23RD JUNE

D-Day on your doorstep
D-Day Museum (included in the admission price)
11am–12pm
A quirky theatre performance telling the human story of Portsmouth families during D-Day. The play is based upon letters sent home to Portsmouth from overseas troops.


Travel and Parking to D-Day 75 Events in Portsmouth

Due to the high security level around the city, especially on 5th June, parking and travel will be disrupted. Portsmouth City Council have done their utmost to ensure that the public can make the journey into the city and have provided a number of options.

DRIVING: Many seafront roads will be closed from 4th June and re-opened on 6th June. A full list of hard and soft road closures during this period is available via the council website here »

ROAD CLOSURE INFORMATION: https://www.portsmouth.gov.uk/ext/your-council/your-city/d-day-75/d-day-75-road-closures

Anyone driving to the area for the commemorations is advised to use the park and ride facilities on the outskirts of the city.

Special barriers will be used from 8:00am on 4th June until it is safe to remove them after the Ministry of Defence event on 5th June.

On street parking will be available in roads that are not closed. Permits and ticket charges will be in force.

Drop-off points on 4th and 5th June.

There will be designated drop-off points for taxis and other vehicles in Southsea Terrace. Vehicles will not be able to access the seafront using side roads, as side roads will have soft road closures in place.

Anyone who is less able to walk and might have difficulty walking from the drop-off point to their home should call the city helpline on 023 9268 8020.

From the 6th June onwards, additional parking facilities will made available at Castle Field, Southsea PO5 3PB, and the road closures will no longer be in place.

PARK AND RIDE BUS FACILITIES

Special D-Day 75 Park and Ride (5th June Only)

The D-Day 75 Park and Ride is Free and is located at the King George V playing fields. The facility will be operating from 8:00am to 8:00pm. Shuttle buses will run frequently throughout the day. Drop off will be at The Hard travel interchange, a 20-minute walk to the D-Day event side. There will be a free shuttle bus from The Hard for veterans and those with a disability. 

Portsmouth Park and Ride

Portsmouth park-and-ride is at the entrance to the city on the M275. The cost is £4 per vehicle and buses run into Portsmouth every 15-minutes. Up to five people can travel using one ticket. The nearest stop to the event is The Hard Interchange. There will be signs and volunteers to help you follow the route. It will take about 20-minutes to walk from The Hard to the event site. There will be a free shuttle bus from The Hard for veterans and those with a disability.

TRAINS

Train stations at Fratton, Portsmouth and Southsea, and Portsmouth Harbour will be open for the public to use during the D-Day event schedule. Check all train providers for any travel disruptions.

HOVERTRAVEL

The Hovertravel terminal on the seafront will remain open throughout. There will be changes to services on 5th June. See the Hovertravel website for latest changes: https://www.hovertravel.co.uk/hovernews/

The car park opposite the terminal will be closed from 00:01 on Monday 3rd June, and reopened on 6th June.

From once the enhanced security measures are in place on 5th June, passengers will need to access the Hover Travel terminal by walking through Clarence Pier and along Long Curtain Moat into Old Portsmouth, as Southsea Common will be closed to pedestrians. Pedestrian access to the Southsea terminal will be back to normal from 6th June.

GOSPORT FERRY

Take the 4 ½ minute ferry journey from Gosport to The Hard Interchange at Portsmouth Harbour. There are a large number of public car parks in walking distance of the ferry terminal at Gosport.  Ferries run every 7 ½ minutes during peak times (every 15 minutes off-peak) from 5:30am until midnight. Once at The Hard, it's about a 20 minute walk to the event site.


GOT QUESTIONS? Please contact us via the messenger app on the bottom right of the page and we’ll do our best to answer your queries regarding the D-Day commemorations in Portsmouth.

We hope you’re looking forward to the D-Day commemorations as much as we are. Here are some highlights we created from the 70th Anniversary events in Portsmouth.