UK

‘That remarkable wartime generation’ – D-Day anniversary quotes

D-Day veterans and their families were joined by members of the royal family and senior politicians.

Veterans are escorted at the end of the UK national commemorative event for the 80th anniversary of D-Day
Veterans are escorted at the end of the UK national commemorative event for the 80th anniversary of D-Day (Jane Barlow/PA)

Thursday marked 80 years since the D-Day landings of June 6 1944, when the Allied nations launched the largest amphibious invasion in military history and began the process of ending the war in Europe.

At the UK’s national commemorative event at the British Normandy Memorial in Ver-sur-Mer, France, D-Day veterans and their families were joined by members of the royal family and senior politicians, including Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Here the PA news agency looks at some of the best quotes from the landmark anniversary.

“On the beaches of Normandy, on the seas beyond and in the skies overhead, our armed forces carried out their duty with a humbling sense of resolve and determination, qualities so characteristic of that remarkable wartime generation. Very many of them never came home, they lost their lives on the D-Day landing grounds or in the many battles that followed. It is with the most profound sense of gratitude that we remember them and all those who served at that critical time” – The King addresses an emotional group of veterans at the British Normandy Memorial.

The King gave a speech at the British Normandy Memorial on Thursday
The King gave a speech at the British Normandy Memorial on Thursday (Jane Barlow/PA)

“Each of you who contributed that day – sailor, soldier, aviator, civilian – whether you fought on the beaches or parachuted from the skies, or flew fighters or gliders, whether you were an engineer or a radio operator or an intelligence officer, your actions freed a continent and built a better world. You risked everything and we owe you everything. We cannot possibly hope to repay that debt but we can and we must pledge never to forget” – Prime Minister Rishi Sunak addresses veterans, their families and other guests at the UK commemorative event in Normandy.

“Far from home they stormed these very sand dunes behind me, shoulder to shoulder with thousands of British troops. Standing here today in peaceful silence, it is almost impossible to grasp the courage it would have taken to run into the fury of battle that day” – The Prince of Wales praises Canadian soldiers as he delivers a speech at a ceremony on Juno Beach to an audience of Canadian D-Day veterans and armed forces personnel.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told D-Day veterans ‘we owe you everything’
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told D-Day veterans ‘we owe you everything’ (Jane Barlow/PA)

“It’s so historic and we just have to remember the sacrifices of everybody who gave us our freedom. It gives you goosebumps, everything that happened here. Imagine just jumping into the water, freezing cold. The bravery, the courage, for people to face that is just unbelievable, very, very humbled to be here” – Becky Kraubetz, a Briton now living in Florida, whose grandfather served with the British Army during the Second World War and was captured in Malta.

“(I’m) totally humbled and privileged to be coming off the landing craft that docks on to the beaches, the same as those guys, those young soldiers many, many years ago, 80 years ago today. Totally outstanding, wouldn’t have missed it for the world. The memories of all those guys here” – Pipe Major Trevor Macey-Lillie, who began commemorations in Normandy by playing a lament at sea at the exact moment of the beach invasion in 1944.