'This celebration is their victory': Anniversary of D-Day Landings commemorated in popular park
PUBLISHED: 13:43 07 June 2019 | UPDATED: 13:43 07 June 2019
The 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings has been commemorated in Lowestoft with a special event.
More than 200 people turned out in Sparrow's Nest as Lowestoft Town Council organised a People's Picnic in the Park.
With people being encouraged to bring a picnic and enjoy some live music from the era, courtesy of the Super Swing Big Band, the event was hailed a success as those in attendance entered into the spirit of the occasion and danced along to the band's music.
Welcoming those to the event, mayor of Lowestoft Alice Taylor said: "I want to thank you on behalf of Lowestoft Town Council for coming out today to the 75th anniversary celebration of D-Day.
"Now some people think that the word 'celebration' is not appropriate.
"How can we celebrate D-Day, the largest seaborne invasion in history, an invasion that coast 4,414 Allied lives?
"We are here to remember the sacrifice of the military and civilians from the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Canada, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, India, Greece, the Netherlands, New Zeland, Norway and Poland who banded togather on D-Day to fight against the evils of fascism and to defend the principles of liberty, equality and democracy.
"Some people don't know the important part that Lowestoft played in the D-Day invasion.
"You are standing in the very place - here in Sparrow's Nest - of the home of the Royal Naval Patrol Service, known as the HMS Europa.
"Lowestoft was central depot to a vast network of minesweepers that kept the channel clear.
"You might not know it, but this very ground you are standing on was once the closest British military establishment facing the enemy.
"You are standing on the home of more than 70,000 men and women who supported 6,000 small coastal defence craft of all types, often in the most dangerous conditions, all to keep Britain free from tyranny.
"On June 5 and June 6, Allied minesweepers from Lowestoft and other ports led the way to clear a path to the landing beaches and made D-Day, and the liberation of Europe, possible.
"On this 75th anniversary of the day, we hear a lot of the D-Day invasion.
"We don't hear a lot about those who made the day possible by clearing the way. But we know and we have not forgotten.
"We are here to rember the Lowestoft sailors whl manned the minesweepers and the Lowestoft soldiers who died on the beaches, and the great sacrifices made by all of the Allied soldiers and civilians on this day 75 years ago....but we are also here to celebrate.
"We can celebrate because we won.
"We are here today to enjoy a lovely evening with our friends and listen to a selection of music.
"This celebration is exactly what those brave soldiers and sailors wanted. This celebration is their victory.
"They fought for their country, they fought for their family and friends, they fought for their children and grandchildren, and they fought for those unborn generations they would never meet.
"They fought so that WE could come out on a summer evening to this lovely park and enjoy a concert in a free and opemn society.
"So we do celebrate, and we honour them by not forgetting why we are here today."
Speaking afterwards, the mayor said: "We had an excellent turnout - it was brilliant.
"It was just wonderful to see everyone out having a good time.
"They respected the solemnity of the day and understood it was a celebration of life."