D-Day respects paid in Inveraray sunshine

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The weather was kinder than it had been to Allied troops crossing the English Channel exactly 75 years earlier.

A short service of remembrance held at Inveraray war memorial on the evening of June 6 marked the anniversary of the D-Day landings, the start of the major Allied counter-offensive in 1944 codenamed Operation Overlord.

The 150,000-strong invasion force arrived on the Normandy coast at the beginning of what was to be a a prolonged and arduous campaign to push the Germans out of France, while the Red Army further squeezed the Nazis from the east.

Inveraray and the shores of Loch Fyne played a major role in preparing Allied forces for the D-Day – and many other – landings.

The Combined Operations training centre, centred around HMS Quebec, the site of the modern-day Argyll Caravan Park, saw around 250,000 personnel of many nationalities trained in amphibious assault around the loch’s shores over five years from 1940.

Leading the remembrance service, former army chaplain, Reverend Dr Roderick Campbell, spoke of the courage of the men and women responsible for preparations for D-Day and the days, weeks and months that followed.

He said he was reminded that for every front line soldier, there are many more people behind the scenes, just as at the Inveraray training centre, involved in supporting roles, without whom there would be no boots on the ground – a fact he recalled being drummed into him when he first joined the army.

A colour party from Inveraray and District branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland was piped to the memorial by Pipe Major Stuart Liddell, who played a lament in honour of those who sacrificed so much for the sake of freedom.

Iona, Duchess of Argyll bowed her head as she laid a wreath at the war memorial.

And, in the evening sunshine by Loch Fyne, Reverend Campbell spoke the familiar words by Laurence Binyon:

‘They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.’