The Queen has paid tribute to those who took part in the Allied D-Day invasion, 75 years after the battle.

The British monarch spoke at a commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in occupied France on Wednesday in Portsmouth, where the ships set out.

The Queen remembered how 15 years ago many people thought the 60th anniversary would be the last involving the veterans.

“But the wartime generation, my generation, is resilient and I’m delighted to be with you in Portsmouth today,” the Queen said.

She recalled her father, King George VI, saying before the invasion that “what is demanded from us all is something more than courage and endurance; we need a revival of spirit, a new unconquerable resolve”.

“That is exactly what those brave men brought to the battle, as the fate of the world depended on their success.

“Many of them would never return, and the heroism, courage and sacrifice of those who lost their lives will never be forgotten.


“It is with humility and pleasure, on behalf of the entire country – indeed the whole free world – that I say to you all, thank you.”

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Prince Charles, British Prime Minister Theresa May, US President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended the event.

About 300 World War II veterans and 700 other people including active servicemen and women were also there.

Mr Morrison said it was a privilege to represent Australia and speak to veterans, particularly on a day that marked such a turning point in history.

“It’s important that we reflect on that, understanding the causes of the forces that brought the world to that point at that time, to make sure in today’s world … that we ensure those lessons are never lost,” he said.

Royal Australian Navy Lieutenant Commander Scott Roberts, who made a reading at the service, said it was a bucket list experience to speak in front of the veterans, the Queen, his prime minister and his navy chief.


“You can see how much it means to the veterans and I can only imagine if I was ever involved in something it would mean the same to me later on (in life),” he said.

“The most important thing is the veterans, talking to them … it’s overwhelming really, what they went through. They were so young, there’s not many left but (for) the couple that are there it’s really important.”

Twenty different aircraft flew over the service, including a WWII-era Spitfire, a Hawker Hurricane, a Sentinal R1 reconnaissance aircraft and the RAF’s nine-member aerobatic team the Red Arrows.

HMS St Albans, a Type-23 Royal Navy frigate, also sailed past the service and fired a salvo.

D-Day, officially known as Operation Overlord, began when the Allies launched an aerial bombardment on the German lines in Normandy before dropping 18,000 troops there on the night of June 5, 1944, to prepare the way for the seaborne invasion of occupied France.

The following day Operation Neptune succeeded in landing 132,000 ground troops on the beaches.


About 3000 Australians, including 2500 airmen and 500 Navy sailors, took part in the operation.

Fourteen Australians were killed including two Navy sailors and 12 airmen.


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