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Media Release – Minister Keogh – D-Day eight decades on – a day that changed history

Department of Veterans' Affairs 2 mins read

OFFICIAL

 

crest_ministerial

 

THE HON MATT KEOGH MP

Minister for VETERANS’ AFFAIRS

MINISTER FOR DEFENCE PERSONNEL

 

MEDIA RELEASE

6 June 2024

d-day eight decades ON – A DAY THAT CHANGED HISTORY

Today we mark the 80th anniversary of one of the most important events of World War II, D-Day.

The morning of 6 June 1944 saw nearly 160,000 Allied troops cross the English Channel as part of the largest amphibious invasion in Military history - the first step in the war’s liberation of France, and the rest of Europe.

Around 3,300 Australians participated in D-Day operations, playing a vital role for the Allied Forces, the actions of whom should never be forgotten.

Throughout the course of that historic day, nearly 160,000 Allied troops crossed the English Channel for the Battle of Normandy. Known as Operation Overlord, it involved almost 7,000 sea-going vessels, a naval armada that stretched as far as the eye could see.

Some 2,300 aircraft were used as well as over 850 gliders.

2,800 Australian airmen and about 500 naval personnel served on Royal Navy vessels on D-Day. A small number of officers were also attached to British army units.

Individuals like Sub-Lieutenant Richard Pirrie RAN who was in command of a small British spotter boat responsible for successfully neutralising a number of German positions.

Sadly Sub-Lieutenant Pirrie was one of the first of at least 13 Australians killed on D-Day, with many more losing their lives throughout the campaign.

In the days and weeks that followed D-Day, bitter fighting ensued as the Allies attempted to break out of the beachheads. Tens of thousands of casualties were incurred by both sides.

It is estimated 555,000 Australians served overseas in the World War II, with more than 39,000 losing their lives.

Eighty years after D-Day, we remember all those who served in the Second World War and pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Lest we forget.

 

MEDIA CONTACT:

DVA Media: media.team@dva.gov.au 

 

Media note – Sub-Lieutenant Richard Pirrie’s name was added to Normandy Memorial Wall in Portsmouth, England overnight.

 

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