D Day: Harrogate woman remembers her grandfather's role in D Day as world marks 80th anniversary of Normandy landings

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
As the world today celebrates the 80th anniversary of the ‘Longest Day’ a Harrogate woman has been looking back at her own family’s role in the D Day landings that changed history in the Second World War.

Having discovered from family memorabilia that her late grandfather Larry Lawler had landed on Sword Beach at Hermanville-sur Mer on June 6, 1944, Harrogate resident Jan Gleaves has now visited Normandy three times, following the route late grandfather took that momentous day.

A tram driver before the war, Larry joined the British Army as a tank driver in the Westminster Dragoons as the fightback began against Nazi Germany.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Talking to Harrogate Advertiser columnist Dennis Richards, Jan said: “It’s a beautiful coastline in its own right but you cannot help being deeply moved by what took place here.”

Harrogate resident Jan Gleaves pictured at Sword Beach in Normandy following the route her late grandfather Larry Lawler took on D-Day as a tank driver in the Allied Invasion in 1944. (Picture contributed)Harrogate resident Jan Gleaves pictured at Sword Beach in Normandy following the route her late grandfather Larry Lawler took on D-Day as a tank driver in the Allied Invasion in 1944. (Picture contributed)
Harrogate resident Jan Gleaves pictured at Sword Beach in Normandy following the route her late grandfather Larry Lawler took on D-Day as a tank driver in the Allied Invasion in 1944. (Picture contributed)

She is determined to pass on the story of how ordinary soldiers turned the course of the Second World War.

“Larry survived, hundreds did not,” she said.

In the meantime, people across the Harrogate district are today marking the 80th anniversary of the Allied Invasion of Europe that brought the world freedom from tyranny.

The anniversary events include:

Harrogate

In Harrogate, The Royal British Legion are set to hold a short dedication at the Harrogate War memorial in the town centre at 11am.

Knaresborough

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Knaresborough has an entire day of events on June 6 to commemorate D Day.

Town Crier Mark Hunter is to join town criers around the world in reading the D Day 80 Proclamation at The Market Cross at 8am and noon.

At 7pm there will be a D Day commemoration event in Knaresborough Castle Grounds, where people are invited to bring a fish n chip supper and listen to Knaresborough Silver Band.

At 8pm the Sea Cadets, the Army Cadet Force and Air Training Corps will march to the War Memorial.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

At 8.45pm there will be a Service of Remembrance at the War Memorial led by the Rev Garry Hinchcliffe.

At 9pm the day will end with an International Tribute and the lighting of the beacon at the War Memorial.

RIpon

At 7pm, a D Day 80th anniversary charity concert will take place at Ripon Cathedral with The Ripon City Band, The Duchy Belles, The Dishforth Military Wives Choir, and Charlotte Potter.

At 9pm, Jack Churchill, Sir Winston Churchill’s great grandson, will be lighting the beacon on the city’s behalf.

Related topics: