07 June 2019

D-Day 75 ceremony at Bayeux War Cemetery

Yesterday, a commemorative ceremony was held at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s (CWGC) Bayeux War Ceremony, paying tribute to the soldiers that fought and died during the invasion of Normandy and the subsequent advance into France.

Ceremony attendees, including His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall 

The event was attended by a number of Second World War veterans, as well as His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, British Prime Minister Theresa May, CWGC Vice Chairman Sir Tim Laurence and CWGC Director General Victoria Wallace. Serving members of the Armed Forces were also in attendance.

The ceremony took place in the centre of the cemetery, with the assembled dignitaries and each of the veterans laying a wreath and personal tribute under the Cross of Sacrifice that stands in the middle of the cemetery.

A Second World War veteran at Bayeux Cemetery

Emotions ran high throughout the service, which included, 95-year-old Royal Navy veteran, Frank Baugh’s retelling of the horrors he witnessed while transporting soldiers to Sword Beach on D-Day.

The crowds were also enjoyed the majestic site and sounds of a Second World War fly-past: a Dakota and a Spitfire, decked out in the black and white stripes of D-Day, roaring overhead during the ceremony.

A Dakota and Spitfire fly over

As the first major town liberated after D-Day, Bayeux became the staging ground for dead and injured soldiers following the invasion. As such, Bayeux War Cemetery contains the graves of over 4,500 soldiers who died during the Second World War, casualties of Operation Overlord and the initial push into France.

Stone of Remembrance at Bayeux War Cemetery

The cemetery holds over 4,000 Commonwealth burials, but also over 500 graves of other nationalities, the majority of which are German. The Bayeux Memorial also stands opposite the cemetery, containing the names of more that 1,800 Commonwealth soldiers who died during the landings and have no known grave.

Watch CWGC assistant historian, Max Dutton, interviewing Director General Victoria Wallace

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