Call for ‘unity’ on 75th anniversary of D-Day

Troops head for the Normandy beaches during the D Day invasion of Woarld War Two
Troops head for the Normandy beaches during the D Day invasion of Woarld War Two
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Prime Minister Theresa May will call for continued Western unity in tackling “new and evolving security threats” as she commemorates the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

She will today host 15 world leaders and representatives as they honour veterans of the largest amphibious military invasion in history at a national commemoration event in Portsmouth.

Mrs May will say: “The Normandy landings 75 years ago were a moment of historic international co-operation.

“And it is right that at the heart of today’s commemorations are the veterans who fought to secure the liberty and the peace that we now enjoy.

“The global challenges we face today are different in their origin and nature.

“But as we confront new and evolving threats to our security, it is more important than ever that we continue to stand together in upholding our shared values and way of life.

“That’s why the UK has this week committed our Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers and F-35 fighter jets to support the efforts of Nato forces to preserve the security and collective defence of our allies.

“As I host leaders from around the world today to mark this significant moment in our shared history, we will together reflect on the continued importance of the Western alliance for all our countries’ security and prosperity.

“And as we unite to pay tribute to those whose bravery and sacrifice on the beaches of Normandy marked a turning point in the Second World War, we will vow never to forget the debt we owe them.”

The event will be the first time the UK has hosted this many world leaders outside a formal summit since the 2012 Olympics.

Representatives from every country that fought alongside the UK in Operation Overlord – the Battle of Normandy – will attend commemorations alongside the Queen, the Prince of Wales, members of the armed forces and more than 300 veterans who are all more than 90 years old.

Mrs May will be joined by US president Donald Trump, French president Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as prime ministers from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia and Denmark.

The event on Southsea Common in the Hampshire port city will include an hour-long production telling the story of the invasion with testimony from veterans, as well as a flypast of the Red Arrows and Spitfires.

More than 4,000 personnel will be involved in D-Day events in the UK and France, in what is set to be one of the biggest mobilisations of the UK armed forces in recent history.