Posted 6th June 2024 | No Comments

Train named to commemorate 80th anniversary of D-Day

It was 80 years ago today, on 6 June 1944, that Allied forces began landing on the French coast to begin the invasion and liberation of occupied Europe.

The operation was a success, and the Second World War ended in Europe with the defeat of the Nazis just over 11 months later.

South Western Railway has dedicated one of its trains to the D-Day Story Museum in Portsmouth to commemorate the anniversary of the Normandy Landings.

Local school children, South Western Railway staff, the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Royal Navy sailors and others were guests at the special event at Portsmouth Harbour station.

For its journey to Portsmouth, the train was guarded by SWR Guards Inspector Andy Dennis, who joined the Army when he was 19 and served for 22 years.

To help educate the next generation about D-Day, South Western Railway has sponsored the admission of 100 children to the Portsmouth museum.

The museum explains and illustrates the crucial part which Portsmouth and its citizens played in the liberation of Europe, using the personal possessions and words of the people who were there.

SWR customer and commercial director Peter Williams presented a matching name plate to the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Jason Fazackarley.

The special event was witnessed by 30 children from local schools, including the band from Petersfield School, as well as pupils from the Priory School in Fratton. After the naming ceremony, the children visited the museum, courtesy of SWR.

Peter Williams said: ‘We are proud to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Normandy Landings by dedicating one of our trains to the D-Day Story Museum in Portsmouth.

‘D-Day holds such significance in the history of the whole world. Portsmouth, one of the key cities we serve on our network, played an important role in that heroic operation.

‘Ensuring that the bravery of those who took part is never forgotten is a mission we eagerly support, which is why we are so pleased to be sponsoring the admission of 100 children to the museum.

‘The railway was vitally important for making the Normandy Landings a success, and members of the Armed Forces community continue to make an invaluable contribution to the railway today, including many colleagues in SWR.’