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Watch: Black Country communities come together to remember heroes of D-Day landings

It was a day to stop, reflect and remember the sacrifices of those people who gave their lives in the service of their country.

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Across the region, there were services held and tributes made at cenotaphs and town and city centres on the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

The event at Hednesford Library was a chance for the community to come together in remembrance

On D-Day on June 6 1944, Allied forces launched a combined naval, air and land assault on Nazi-occupied France, with the 'D' in D-Day standing simply for 'day' and the term was used to describe the first day of any large military operation.

Allied airborne forces parachuted into drop zones across northern France, while ground troops then landed across five assault beaches at Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword.

The wreaths were laid at the Cenotaph on Ednam Road

By the end of the day, the Allies had established a foothold along the coast and could begin their advance into France, which began the liberation of France from the Nazis and laid the foundations for the eventual Allied victory in World War II.

80 years later, the surviving veterans of that campaign joined with civic leaders, members of the armed forces and the public to remember those who didn't return from Normandy, as well as their comrades who have passed away over the years.

Halesowen MP James Morris was among those paying their respects at the service

In Dudley borough, the Mayor of Dudley laid a commemorative wreath at the cenotaph on Ednam Road in Dudley town centre, as the borough came together to remember the efforts of the British forces on 6 June 1944.

Veterans from across Dudley joined Councillor Hillary Bills and other local dignitaries, with the D-Day anniversary flag raised from the mast on top of the Council House.

The building will also be illuminated in red, white and blue this evening to celebrate Britain’s role in D-Day.

The Mayor of Dudley Councillor Hillary Bills lays a wreath at the Dudley Cenotaph

Councillor Hilary Bills, the Mayor of Dudley, said: “There are a number of services and events taking place in Dudley borough today to mark D-Day.

“It was a great honour to lay the memorial wreath at the cenotaph in Dudley town centre this morning, in memory of those who served our country with such distinction on D-Day.”

“Sadly, only a few veterans who landed in Normandy 80 years ago are still with us, so it is important to keep their memories alive and to share their stories with the younger generations.”

Hillary Bills chats to visitors at the Dudley remembrance event

At Shell Corner in Halesowen, the 80th Anniversary of D-Day was marked with a ceremony at the junction of Long Lane and Nimmings Road in Halesowen at 11am by Rev. Mark Danks of the nearby St Paul’s church.

The event was attended by veterans, local schoolchildren, members of the public, Halesowen MP James Morris and Labour parliamentary candidate and former Royal Marine Alex Ballinger, who said it was important to continue getting people together to remember the sacrifices made on D-Day.

He said: "I think it's wonderful to get the people from all over the community coming together to remember the sacrifices that people made on D-Day and to do it in such an important place on Shell Corner.

Councillor Stuart Henley examines the shell at Shell Corner in Halesowen

"It was great to see Mark Danks come down and give a very moving account of a service of what people had done and how they had started the beginning of the end of the Nazi occupation of Europe.

It was an emotional day for veterans

"It's also important for the local schoolchildren to remember what had happened and understand the sacrifices made by many young people to secure freedom for their country and for the area, so I thought it was really nice to see the memories of people honoured."

Standards were lowered during the Drumhead Service in Hednesford

In Hednesford, the Staffordshire Regimental Association Hednesford Branch held a coffee and cake event at the town's library, followed by a Drum Head ceremony in the town square.

Rev. Mark Danks hosts the service at Shell Corner

Regiment secretary Paula Smith said it had been wonderful to see the community come together and commemorate D-Day.

She said: "I'd just wonderful as the community has really pulled together to remember those people that fought for us and we've been able to look at the names of those local soldiers who didn't return.

"We've decorated the town and we've all said that we must never forget because without their sacrifices, we wouldn't have the life we have today."

There were a large number of different standards on show at the event. Photo: Jacob King/PA Wire

Parade marshall Trevor Evans said it had been a great opportunity to tell plenty of young people about the sacrifices made and bring the community together.

The service paid tribute to all those who sacrificed in the name of their country

He said: "There have been hundreds of children and people here today and we've been able to speak to them and tell them the stories of the D-Day landings and ensure they know the reasons why we remember this day."

A service of remembrance also took place at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

Veterans and guests during the Royal British Legion's service of remembrance at the National Memorial Arboretum. Photo: Jacob King/PA Wire

The service, which began at 2pm, was attended by the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, who joined 26 D-Day and Normandy veterans and spoke to them about their memories of the historic day.

There was also a short act of remembrance and wreath-laying at the Normandy Campaign Memorial at 11am.

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