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As I write, the sun is shining. As the UK has experienced the wettest February on record, with March and April being pretty wet as well, it is lovely to see the sun although it may not last the day! It won’t be long however, before we are complaining that it is ‘too hot’!

Here in the UK, we love talking about the weather! We can be wrapped up against the elements on Saturday, picnicking in shorts and t-shirts on Sunday and battling torrential rain on Monday. Each year, we hope for a White Christmas (possibly thanks to Bing Crosby) – never mind the fact that the UK has only experienced a widespread, Dickensian-like Christmas snow four times in the past 51 years. We can have snow in summer and wear t-shirts in November.

For some people, the weather forecast is vital, but arguably, never more important than in Summer 1944. The 80th Anniversary of D-Day is on June 6. Deciding the date was critical to success. Air operations required clear skies and a full moon, Naval operations required low winds and calm seas and ground troops needed to land at low tide. D-day was set for June 5, but poor weather delayed it until June 6. Although not ideal, as strong winds and rough seas caused problems for the landing craft with the tide coming in more quickly than anticipated, it went ahead as a second postponement meant a 2-week delay – and maybe operational failure for many reasons. Over 8,000 RAF personnel took part in the Normandy landings, and 11,590 Allied aircraft were deployed; I know that some of the pilots were 5BFTS graduates. Please read about Ian Blue in Riddle Round-Up who was in Normandy a few days after D-Day.

This was the largest Naval, Air and Land Operation in History and we now know that it led to the liberation of north-west Europe from Nazi occupation. In the UK, amongst other celebrations and remembrances, the bravery and sacrifices made in 1944 in securing the peace and freedom we enjoy today, will be marked with the lighting of beacons across the country.

And we remember all those who were graduates of 5BFTS and took part, or supported someone taking part, in the Normandy Landings in whatever capacity.

‘Their efforts to preserve the freedom of the world were not in vain and will never be forgotten.’



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