On June 6 1944, thousands of paratroopers jumping from the skies over Normandy began the mission to liberate Europe of Nazi occupation.
For those who witnessed that day, the sight of 300 parachutists leaping from Second World War aircraft over France as part of this year’s D-Day anniversary celebrations will evoke special memories.
As part of the effort to remember the incredible efforts of allied troops 75 years on, the Imperial War Museum today revealed plans that will see troops re-enact the airborne element of the Normandy invasion.
The display, called ‘Daks Over Normandy’ after the Douglas C-47 Skytrain – known in the RAF as the Dakota – will see 30 aircraft launch from Duxford airfield in Cambridgeshire on June 5, and head towards northern France.
The cross-Channel jump will take place between 4 and 5pm, into the original British drop zone at Ranville, code named ‘N’.
Although no D-Day veterans will be jumping, many of the parachutists are former service personnel. British parachutists will be joined in the air by colleagues from America, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Germany, New Zealand and South Africa, plus a few other countries.
Three US recipients of the Medal of Honor, won in recent conflicts, will be present. Major General Sir Colin Weir, the current commander of 1 (UK) Division, will also be on the commemorative jump.