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NSW honors D-Day sacrifice, 80th anniversary service

To commemorate the event, a special ceremony and public lecture will be held today at the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park, Sydney.

D-Day and the Battle of Normandy marked the first step in the liberation of France and Western Europe during World War II and laid the foundation for Allied victory on the Western Front.

Australian defense personnel played a major role in the large Allied forces that participated in D-Day. About 3,200 Australians took part in the D-Day landings on June 6, while thousands more served during the wider Normandy campaign.

Our country’s most significant contribution came from the air, where approximately 1,000 Australians flew with Royal Australian Air Force squadrons, and another 1,800 operated as part of the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force. In addition, more than 500 members of the Royal Australian Navy also served in attachment to the Royal Navy and a small number of Australian soldiers also served on the ground with the British Army.

These efforts came at a price: on June 6, 13 Australians were killed and hundreds more over the course of the campaign while flying in support of ground forces in Normandy. In terms of total casualties, June 1944 was the worst month in the history of the Royal Australian Air Force.

Veterans Minister David Harris said:

“Today we recognize the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy. Our efforts helped secure victory for the Allies in the campaign and marked a turning point for World War II and a victory on the Western Front.

“It is important that we continue to commemorate this momentous occasion and I would like to thank the Air Force Association of NSW and Anzac Memorial for organizing today’s events to honor the service of our veterans who took part in this campaign 80 years ago.”