Commemorative Events To Mark 80th D-Day Anniversary

Commemorative Events in Ards will mark 80th Anniversary of D-Day

  • WWII veterans will be invited to attend 80th anniversary celebrations of D-Day

Ards and North Down Borough Council has announced several commemorative events and activities to mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

They will take place around the Sea Bangor Festival (1-2 June), while beacon lightings in Bangor, Newtownards and Ballyhalbert will coincide with the national commemoration on Thursday 6 June, and World War Two veterans are being invited to attend.

Bangor played a crucial role in the D-Day landings. Many vessels gathered in Belfast Lough and brought military visitors to Bangor ahead of what was the largest invasion by sea in history.

As plans for D-Day gathered momentum, a signal station was erected at the top of the former Royal Hotel in Bangor, with the top floors of the hotel used by the Royal Navy.

Main Street became home to two air raid shelters, and General Dwight D Eisenhower, who later became President of the United States, inspected 30,000 American military personnel before they departed for Normandy.

Mayor Jennifer Gilmour with Leading Ladies Ceara Grehan and Michelle Baird who will perform at the 1940s themed Sea Bangor. World War Two veterans are being invited to attend the D-Day commemoration events and should contact for more details. (Photo: Simon Graham).

20 years ago, in 2004, Bangor’s North Pier was renamed in Eisenhower’s honour.

To mark the 80th anniversary, this year’s Sea Bangor features a 1940s themed programme with a variety of music acts, including a lively mix of ‘40s favourites, that will bring a nostalgic feel to the city. Bangor Bay D-Day boat trips will depart from the jetty at Pickie Fun Park at 12noon and 4pm on Saturday 1 June and Sunday 2 June.

The one-hour guided tour of Bangor Bay costs £14 per person and pre-booking via:, or in person through the Visitor Information Centres, is essential.

On Sunday 2 June, a Military Village will be located at the McKee Clock Arena and the D-Day 80 Commemorative Event takes place between 11am and 1pm.

A Drumhead Service will be held in the Arena while The Band, Bugles, Pipes and Drums of the Royal Irish Regiment will perform a Beating Retreat.

Guns will be fired from the Long Hole by the Royal Artillery and a medal ceremony will take place for 591 (AA) Field Squadron, Royal Engineers, on their return from Operation TOSCA Cyprus.

Following the Service, the Sea Bangor festival will reopen from 1pm to 6pm.

As part of the national D-Day commemoration, beacons will be lit at Bangor’s Castle Park, Newtownards’ Conway Square and Ballyhalbert’s Burr Point on Thursday 6 June at 9.15pm.

North Down Museum will offer free children’s activity packs from 1-9 June to help them learn about this important part of history and its links to our local area.

The Museum will also host a talk by award-winning author, distinguished professor and military historian, Dr John McManus, on Monday 10 June at 7pm.

Dr. McManus will discuss the US preparations for D-Day and its impact on the war effort. The talk is free to attend but pre-booking is essential via:

The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Jennifer Gilmour, said: “Thousands lost their lives during D-Day but without all those brave soldiers, sailors and airmen, we may not be living in the largely peaceful and democratic society that we have today.

“That’s why these commemorative events are so important. We must remember those who gave up so much for the benefit of society and we must thank those who played their part in this vital operation.

“We are all hugely indebted to them.”

Ards and North Down Borough Council would like to invite World War Two veterans to attend the commemoration events.

To take part, the veterans or their families should contact:

For more information, visit

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