'We will remember them' - Young and old gather to honour D-Day heroes on 80th anniversary

At dusk, on the 80th anniversary of D-Day, more than one 1,000 men, women and children gathered around Hillmorton’s War Memorial to pay homage and respect to the 160,000 allied troops who stormed the beaches of Normandy on 6 June 1944.

And to remember those who never returned home.

Candles were lit, hymns and patriotic songs were sung, and prayers were offered by the Rev Ted Lyons from St John the Baptist Church and Kathryn Lawrence, the Chair of the Royal British Legion (Hillmorton branch).

Rugby Mayor Simon Ward recited a poem written Hillmorton resident, Keith Lawson.

In a moving service, attended by men and women who, as children, may have watched the movement of troops and vehicles heading south towards the channel ports without understanding the disruptions to their daily life.

There were a few tears among them as they remembered the sacrifices made by the servicemen and women on that day and the days that followed.

Wreaths were laid by all three of Rugby’s participating branches of the Royal British Legion and by the Rugby mayor who addressed the crowd.

He said. “It was an honour to be part of the D-Day 80th anniversary service.

"I would like to say a special thanks to all the individuals and groups who have given so much of their time and commitment to ensuring that all the services could take place across the borough.

"The message at each was the same. We will remember them.”

The service of celebration ended when the mayor, after some difficulty, lit the flame that represented a beacon of bright hope for peace throughout the world.

Kathryn Lawrence commented on the significance of the Royal British legion who were the prime organisers of D-Day 80.

She said: “D-Day 80 brought out the best in community spirit in Hillmorton.

“The sunset service and the lighting of the beacon was a very moving and fitting tribute to all who made the ultimate sacrifice.

"They fought so that we could live in a free democracy. They will be remembered with gratitude.”

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