Home » D-Day live: Veteran warns ‘UK on a knife edge’ on 80th anniversary

D-Day live: Veteran warns ‘UK on a knife edge’ on 80th anniversary

King Charles pays tribute to veterans at D-Day 80th anniversary ceremony

The state of Britain’s military is leaving the UK “on a knife edge” facing the growing prospect of war, a D-Day veteran has warned on the 80th anniversary of the landings marking the start of Europe’s liberation from the Nazis.

King Charles, Joe Biden and Rishi Sunak were among those in attendance in Ver-sur-Mer, France, to pay tribute on Thursday to the sacrifice of those fallen soldiers 80 years ago.

The US president promised the 50 countries standing with Ukraine “will not walk away” or “surrender to the bullies”, as he addressed the crowds, adding: “Make no mistake the autocrats of the world are watching closely to see what happens in Ukraine … To surrender to bullies, to bow down to dictators is simply unthinkable.”

He added: “History tells us freedom is not free. You want to know the price of freedom come here to Normandy to look.”

And Les Budding, a former Royal Marine who served on a landing craft charged with providing covering fire for the first wave of troops who stormed Sword Beach, warne: “For many, this is the most dangerous time we have lived through … I am worried about the future.”

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What D-Day events are happening today?

  • The King, Queen and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to attend the UK’s national commemorative event at the British Normandy Memorial, Ver-sur-Mer.
  • The Prince of Wales will attend the Canadian commemorative ceremony at the Juno Beach Centre, Courseulles-sur-Mer.
  • The Prince of Wales will join more than 25 heads of state and veterans from around the world at the official international ceremony at Omaha Beach, Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer.
  • Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh to attend Royal British Legion’s service of remembrance at the National Memorial Arboretum.
  • 80-strong boat Flotilla parade in Falmouth. Around 27,000 American troops departed from the Falmouth area to travel to Normandy in 1944 as part of the D-Day landings.
  • The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester to attend D-Day 80: Remembering the Normandy Landings at the Royal Albert Hall, London.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain6 June 2024 08:28

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Macron presents American veterans with France’s highest order of merit

French President Emmanuel Macron smiled as he presented three American veterans with the Legion d’honneur, France’s highest order of merit, at the ceremony.

Before awarding the honours, Mr Macron said: “We thank all of the veterans being present here and I just want to express the gratitude of the French people.”

He added that the three men had a “special relationship” with one of the beaches before shaking hands with the veterans in turn and attaching the medals to their jackets.

Andy Gregory6 June 2024 19:18

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BBC apologises after ‘inappropriate comment’ captured during D-Day coverage

The BBC has apologised for an “inappropriate comment” that was captured during a programme commemorating D-Day.

D-Day 80: Tribute To The Fallen, which aired on June 5, was presented by Kirsty Young, from the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in Bayeux, France.

A clip from the live broadcast has been circulated on social media and features a voice that appears to say: “French a***holes”.

A BBC spokesman said: “We sincerely apologise for an inappropriate comment that was captured during live coverage of the D-Day 80 event in Bayeux.”

Andy Gregory6 June 2024 18:51

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Macron pays tribute to courage of veterans and of Ukrainians

French president Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to the bravery of those who served in the Second World War and to the courage of Ukrainian president Zelensky at the D-Day commemoration ceremony.

Addressing veterans and world leaders present at the event, Mr Macron said: “When we look at war coming back to our continent, when we look at people questioning the values for which we fought, when we look at those who want to change borders by force by rewriting history – let us stand with dignity and look at those who landed here.

“Let us have their courage. Here, the president of Ukraine – your presence here today shows us this in a very forceful way.”

As his speech ended, a flyby trailing red, white and blue smoke flew over the event at Saint-Laurent-Sur-Mer in Normandy.

Andy Gregory6 June 2024 18:22

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Flotilla sails near Falmouth to mark D-Day anniversary

An 80-strong boat flotilla, one for each year since the D-Day landings, has been sailing off the coast of Falmouth, where troops departed on D-Day to travel to Normandy.

(Ben Birchall/PA Wire)
(Ben Birchall/PA Wire)
(Ben Birchall/PA Wire)

Andy Gregory6 June 2024 17:20

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British paratroopers had to get passports checked after D-Day event jump into France

British paratroopers were made to show their passports after parachuting into France ahead of D-Day commemorations, my colleague Jabed Ahmed reports.

Hundreds of soldiers parachuted into the same rural drop zone which was used on D-Day 80 years ago in Sannerville, Normandy, on Wednesday.

More than 300 troops jumped into the field, including parachutists from Belgium and the US. As they landed, they were met by a makeshift customs desk and asked to produce their travel documents by French immigration officials. Crowds also went to watch the jump and the troops were applauded after landing.

Andy Gregory6 June 2024 16:46

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Zelensky applauded at Omaha Beach

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky and First Lady Olena Zelenska received a huge round of applause when they arrived at the site of Omaha Beach in Normandy for the international ceremony, marking the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

French president Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron greeted all their senior guests, heads of state or their representatives from around the world, and giant screens showed them warmly welcoming the couple.

(AFP via Getty Images)

Andy Gregory6 June 2024 16:33

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‘This is the most dangerous time many have lived through,’ warns D-Day veteran

Here is a picture of Les Budding, a D-Day veteran who warned on Thursday that he fears, “for many, this is the most dangerous time we have lived through”.

(ITV)

Andy Gregory6 June 2024 16:11

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Final commemorative event runs an hour late

The last major commemorative event of the 80th anniversary of D-Day was running at least an hour late, with US president Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden the last to arrive.

He quickly greeted some of the world leaders in the front row of the main stand and shared a few words with William before taking his seat.

The event began with contemporary black-and-white footage shown of D-Day and the following days, with bodies lying on the beaches and the wounded being tended.

Andy Gregory6 June 2024 16:01

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UK ‘living on a knife edge’ in face of impending war, D-Day veteran fears

A former Royal Marine who served on a landing craft charged with providing covering fire for the first wave of troops who stormed Sword Beach on D-Day has warned that he believes the UK is “living on a knife edge” in the face of a coming war.

Les Budding, who turns 99 in July, told the BBC: “For many, this is the most dangerous time we have lived through. Another war is coming.”

“I am worried about the future,” he added. “I am concerned about what young people will have to face in the coming years. We are no longer the force we were. We are not prepared.”

“We’re living on a knife edge. People are living in cloud cuckoo land,” Mr Budding continued. “Other countries like Russia and North Korea have been building up their armed forces but we have been sitting back hoping they will see sense. But it’s not going to work.”

Andy Gregory6 June 2024 15:40