31 May 2024

Heroes remembered as Leeds prepares to mark 80th anniversary of D-Day

Armed Forces/Remembrance

Leeds will be paying its own poignant tributes next week as the country marks the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

The D-Day landings on the beaches of Normandy on June 6 in 1944 were a turning point in the Second World War, with more than 155,000 troops – the majority from the UK, the US and Canada but with support from countries including France and Poland – playing their part in the largest seaborne invasion in history.

And next Thursday their bravery and sacrifice in the name of peace will be remembered as people gather for anniversary events in communities up and down the land.

The focus of the commemorations in Leeds on the 6th will be a wreath-laying service at the war memorial in Victoria Gardens in the city centre.

The service, which gets under way at 1.30pm, will be led by the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Abigail Marshall Katung, alongside Ed Anderson CBE (HM Lord-Lieutenant of West Yorkshire) and Professor Adeeba Malik CBE DL (High Sheriff of West Yorkshire).

Councillor James Lewis, the leader of Leeds City Council, and Tom Riordan, the council’s chief executive, will also be in attendance.

Prayers will be led by the Reverend Canon Paul Maybury, Rector of Leeds City Parish and Leeds Minster.

Guests will include members of veterans’ groups as well as Stephanie Dawson, France’s Honorary Consul in Leeds, and representatives of the Polish community. Sailors from HMS Ceres, the Royal Naval Reserve Unit for the city of Leeds and the surrounding area, will also be present.

Civic buildings will be lit up red, white and blue on Thursday to mark the anniversary, and an illuminated D-Day motif – made by the council’s Leeds Lights team – will be on display in Victoria Gardens throughout the month of June.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Abigail Marshall Katung, said:

“I’m pleased and proud that Leeds is marking the 80th anniversary of D-Day, a moment in history that means so much to us all.

“Next Thursday’s service will be a fitting way to show our appreciation for the selfless heroism of the troops who fought for our freedom on June 6, 1944, and to also remember those that sadly never came home.”

Councillor Jane Dowson, Armed Forces Champion for Leeds, said:

“The courage of all those who landed on the beaches of Normandy on that momentous day in 1944 is hard to imagine.

“Sadly, with the passage of time, there are fewer and fewer D-Day veterans still with us. I hope that next week’s commemorations, not just in Leeds but across the country, will demonstrate how keenly we feel our debt to them.”

June will also see Leeds playing host to a month-long Armed Forces Festival, with further information about its programme of activities, shows, talks and exhibitions available here.

The festival will culminate with Leeds’s annual Armed Forces Day event, taking place in the city centre on Sunday, June 30. More details about the day can be found here.


For media enquiries contact:

Leeds City Council Communications team