D-Day 2015

The People’s Commemoration Of D-Day 2015

Sat 6th June 2pm - 4pm


2014 saw the first Purbeck ‘People’s Commemoration of D-Day’ event take place at Fort Henry, Studland. Organised by Dinah Johnson and her children, Megan and Michael (pictured above on the steps of Leeson House), the event saw the local community gather at Fort Henry to pay their respects to all those who gave their lives for us.

The Royal British Legion Standard bearers attended, as did our Coastguard and Police. Locals, holidaymakers, children and family dogs - all were welcomed. The service was beautifully taken by Tony Higgins as Cannon John was sadly held up. Local D-Day veteran, Brian Guy, provided some poems to be read out (he was unable to attend himself). Cliff Brown (also one of our D-Day veterans, pictured below with some of those at the 2014 gathering, and above right) attended to the delight of all those there, happily chatting to the fascinated children about his experiences after the service.

Cliff made an excellent point at the June gathering in response to some ‘worrying’ about the attending children running around in the sunshine at such a ‘sombre’ event. He reminded us that it was our community that he fought for all those years ago - which included the children running around, as well as the police, coastguard, and every man and woman living here today. Any commemoration held should include every one.

It is this ethos that will embody the 2015 People’s Commemoration.Absolutely everyone will be welcome as we continue the ‘living link’ between the children and community of today and the few remaining veterans. This opportunity will not be with us for much longer, as mortality takes its toll and every year we have fewer veterans able to commemorate the event with us in person. It is vital for the next generation to be able to link with those who fought in the war to recognise them as real, living people - and to hopefully learn the lessons that history can teach us.

The 2015 People’s Commemoration of D-Day will be held at Leeson House in Langton Matravers on Saturday June 6th from 2pm - 4pm. We have to offer a huge thank you to Leeson for offering to host the event.

Leeson House is one of the last remaining wartime Intelligence Centres in Purbeck to remain in its original state. Veteran Cliff Brown was stationed there for a period of time until 1942 and has many tales to tell of the operations conducted from Leeson. The afternoon will give the community the chance to meet and chat to our veterans, as well as the chance to hopefully learn about Radar and Cordite and how Purbeck was associated with the war effort. We hope to have one of the Town Bands in attendance, and are planning a sing-a-long, hopefully with input from local scout/guide groups and our local schools. A relaxed, fun and informative afternoon!

A commemoration service will be held at 3pm, with the Last Post being played. Below is a list of people and services we would love to join us at Leeson House - this is a community event organised by the ‘people’, and as such, we would like as many to be involved as possible. There are no funds available, so we’re asking the community to follow the wonderful example set by Lesson House and offer exhibitions and services for free.We hope many of you will join us for this very special occasion next year!


Please join us for D-Day 2015!

Just like in the war years - the whole community mucking-in together!Local servicemen & women - of past and present. You are ALL very welcome - we’d love to see you there on the day.

Any Land Army girls out there - please come and share your stories! We’d all love to hear your memories, so please do come.

WI / WRVS/Herston Wives - we need cakes and tea/coffee to feed the masses! Some funds are available for basic ingredients, but we need YOU to make the cakes and man the tea stall - just like the war years!

Exhibitions - we would love exhibitions on Radar and Cordite - both local endeavours. We would also like any wartime photographs, memories and stories - either in person on the day, or as a display.

Band - we need a local or military band, able to play a few war-time classics, such as ‘We’ll meet again’. We also need someone to play the Last Post as part of the commemoration service - is that you?

Military Vehicles - We’d love a military vehicle or two - Tank Museum? Hope you’re reading this - we’d love to have you involved, in some way, shape or form! Re-enactment groups also very welcome.

Schools/Scouts/Guides etc We, like Cliff, feel it is vitally important for the children to be involved, and to take this opportunity to meet our veterans first-hand while they still can. We’d also like you to learn ‘We’ll meet again’ and ‘Pack up your troubles’ and join us for a sing along - nag your school/group/parents to get involved!

Any other ideas? This is the People’s Commemoration, and as such, your ideas are most welcome - do get in touch.

CONTACT: ed@purbeckgazette.co.uk / 424239 to get involved!