Exciting Events Planned For D-Day 80 In Portsmouth & The Isle Of Wight

2024 is momentous for British Military history, commemorating the 80th anniversary of D-Day, the largest sea-based liberation invasion in history. This year’s ceremony on Wednesday 5 June will see the King and Queen in attendance, accompanied by Prince William, as they honour the brave personnel who risked their lives for freedom and peace.

While tickets for Portsmouth’s main D-Day events were snapped up in minutes, there are plenty of fantastic things going on, starting in the half-term break.

Image © The News, Portsmouth

Visit the ‘Southsea Banksy’ mural

Fitting for the coming D-Day anniversary, a WW2-themed mural that appeared on the Southsea seafront is reminiscent of works by enigmatic street artist Banksy. Depicting a man waving his hat accompanied by a poppy-bearing dog, it’s thought to represent Winston Churchill and a British Bulldog sending off the troops on D-Day.

You can see this unique art piece on the wall of the shelter adjacent to Southsea Beach Cafe and the Indian Food Hut.

Saturday 25 - Sunday 2 June: Half-Term Activities for Veterans with Families

If you have a young family, you’ve got to visit The D-Day Story on Clarence Esplanade, Portsmouth. With model-making, needlework, Military-themed games, historical tours and the last surviving landing craft tank LCT 7074 from D-Day, there’s plenty to see and do.

Not a Portsmouth-based event, but Bovington’s epic Tank Museum will host ‘D-Day Deceptions’, a thrilling and highly informative family activity day involving tank displays, kids’ activities, vehicle rides and more.

And for the little ones, Portsmouth City Council is offering 20% off tickets for meet and greets with already-iconic children’s TV character Bluey. You can find more information here.

Image © Visit Portsmouth

Saturday June 1 & Sunday June 2 - D-Day Firepower Weekend, Fort Nelson

Visit the iconic Fort Nelson on Portsdown Hill for spectacular WW2 artillery displays, re-enactments and military vehicles. There’s music of the time from singing duo Perfect Vintage. It’s a family affair with children’s activities, face painting, search and rescue dog demonstrations and more. Find full information here.

Image © AllEvents.in

Saturday June 1, 1930 hrs - D-Day Proms, Medina Theatre, Isle of Wight

Enjoy traditional wartime musical favourites, emotional moments and a traditional Proms-style finale courtesy of the Medina’s 35-piece orchestra and vocal complement.

Musical Director Andrew Woodford conducts this special occasion, joined by a Compere and students from Curtain Call Creative. More information can be found here.

Wednesday 5 June - RAF flypast & Red Arrows display, Southsea Common & Ryde, IOW

Southsea Common is very restricted for the official D-Day ceremonies, although the RAF flypast and Red Arrows’ exciting aerial display should still be visible in the Portsmouth sky and from Ryde.

Thursday 6 June, 1900 hrs - D-Day Concert, Ferry Boat, Hayling Island

There’s a free outdoor concert taking place at the Ferryboat Inn on Hayling Island at 7pm – no tickets are required, but arrive early to find a good spot!

Image © Newport Council

Saturday June 8, 1000-1600 hrs - D-Day Newport, Victoria Recreation Ground

This great family day includes music, vintage stalls and military vehicle displays. A parade will start on Drill Hall Road at 1030 hrs to arrive for the Lord Lieutenant’s salute at 1050 hrs 

There’s free transport via the vintage Southern Vectis bus ‘Old Girl’ from Church Litten. The event is organised by Newport and Carisbrooke Community Council.

Saturday June 8, 1030-1300 hrs - '80 Years On From D-Day,’ Sandown Conservative Club, Isle of Wight

Attend a fascinating historical morning where you can bring your own WW2 family memorabilia and learn about the Isle of Wight County Press’ wartime publications. Admission is £5, which includes refreshments, a screening of the film ’80 Years On and a prize draw supporting The Veteran, Ryde.

Saturday June 8 - Armed Forces Day displays, Southsea Common

Concluding the D-Day 80 week, Armed Forces Day 2024 is a free event packed with amazing displays including a Royal Navy parachute jump, military parades and vehicles plus live music. Families can enjoy funfair rides, a free climbing wall, laser tag and obstacle course, as well as various arts and crafts.

No UK Military and aircraft-related event would be complete without the Red Arrows – we can all look forward to seeing the iconic aircraft roar across the Portsmouth sky in tight formation.

You can find more information here.

This is a selection of events we thought VOS users would especially enjoy – but there will be a lot more going on besides! We hope you have a great week commemorating this most important of events, and maybe we’ll see you out and about.

VOS is here to support veterans from the UK Armed Forces service, the Merchant Navy, and their partners. If you know a veteran (from any time of service) located in Portsmouth, the Isle of Wight, Gosport, Fareham or the Solent area, please pass our details along.

If you’re a veteran or partner and are thinking about getting in touch, we would love to hear from you. Call us on 02392 731 767, visit one of our drop-ins, or email admin@vosuk.org.

Please note that VOS is not a crisis service. If you need immediate support, please contact one of the following:

  • Your GP or NHS 111
  • Attend A&E or call 999 for medical emergencies
  • The Samaritans on 116 123 (24 hours a day, 365 days a year)
  • A trusted family member or friend

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