Remembering D-Day

On Thursday June 6, Rye remembered the Normandy Landings with a ceremony outside the town hall. Beginning with the Ryebellion Drummers and finishing with the national anthem, there were prayers, speeches and songs, as Rye marked the day Allied troops landed in Northern France.

The official town cry for D-Day by Paul Goring

The event was organised by Rye Town Crier Paul Goring who replaced his usual bell with one issued to air raid wardens at the start of world war two. His rousing Cry, repeated all over the country, paid tribute to an “incredible achievement that united brave personnel on land, at sea and in the air.”

D Day celebrations in Rye – Paul Whiteman, Right Worshipful Mayor of Rye Cllr Andy Stuart and Colonel Anthony Kimber

Rye Mayor Andy Stuart, standing next to the flag of the Royal British Legion, also praised the bravery and sacrifice of the Allied troops. The Legion’s Rye President Colonel Anthony Kimber told the crowds how Rye had “more than a little connection to the enterprise.” He explained how Combined Operations had trained men in beach landings at Admiralty Quay at Rye Harbour and at HMS Haig – what we now know as the Freda Gardham School.

He mentioned the troops drawn from Rye, the Marsh radar, the Mulberry Harbours made in Rye, and the local connection to the PLUTO pipeline that pumped fuel across the Marsh to Dungeness and out to France. “With war on the edge of Europe today, there’s a special significance in remembering D-Day and world war two.”

Friends Unlimited, D-Day celebrations in Rye

Following a minute’s silence, Martin Bruce read the International Tribute and prayers were led by Revd Paul White. The Friends Unlimited Choir joined the crowd in singing war time songs including: Wish me luck, Hang up your washing, and a Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square.

Selection of WW2 helmets and ammunition shells

Also on Thursday there were events at Rye Heritage Centre, and Rye Castle Museum opened its East Street site, not usually open during the week, attracting 125 visitors. WW2 artefacts from the collection, including soldiers’ helmets, ammunition shells, posters, gas masks and the contents of a soldier’s rucksack, were displayed in the entrance along with documents, photographs and other ephemera inside. As an added bonus there were delicious cakes and coffee on offer.

More events were due to take place in the evening, including beacons being lit and a special commemoration in Winchelsea marking the area’s contribution to the conflict.

Rye News will have a full report next week.

Ryebellion Drummers D-Day celebrations in Rye

Image Credits: Kt bruce , Juliet Duff .

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