TOWNS and villages across Ryedale will be commemorating the 80th Anniversary of D-Day - a pivotal moment in the fight for freedom during World War II

On June 6, 1944, the heroic Allied forces crossed the English Channel to storm the beaches of Normandy. It marked a turning point in the conflict, as it led to the eventual surrender of Nazi Germany less than a year later in 1945.

Ryedale played a significant role in the preparations for D-Day with Kirkham Priory and the adjacent stretch of the river Derwent were used as training grounds during the first five months of 1944.

This was to prepare for Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Northwest Europe, which commenced on 6th June 1944 with what became known as D-Day. This assault phase of Operation Overlord was codenamed Operation Neptune.

From 6th June, 8,000 vessels carrying almost 160,000 troops made an amphibious assault on the beaches of Normandy in France. By 11th June over 54,000 vehicles had landed. Crucial to the Allied success in Europe was trained troops, and the effective waterproofing of vehicles.

On the river by Kirkham Priory troops practised river crossings and trialled waterproofed vehicles through a specially constructed water splash. Tests included carrying Humber Scout cars across the river on folding boat equipment and checking the effectiveness of the waterproofing of vehicles such as the Bedford MW 15cwt general service truck.

A new interpretation is going in at Kirkham Priory this week to mark the role that the site played in the D-Day landings

Elsewhere a D-Day proclamation will be made at a number of locations including Norton, Malton and Helmsley.

David Jackson, Town Crier of Malton and Norton, will make the proclamation in Norton at 11.30am on June 6 followed by Malton at around 12noon. He will then attend a commemoration event in Kirkby Misperton in the evening.

David Hinde, who has been the town crier of Helmsley since 2017, will make his proclamation at 2pm on Thursday, June 6, from the balcony at Helmsley Town Hall.

For David the proclamation will be doubly significant as last October he suffered a stroke and lost the power of speech as a consequence.

"It'll be the first time I will have made a proclamation since my recovery so in many ways it's David Day too," he said.

"I am now back singing in two choirs and have lost five stone, and would like to lose more weight.

"I am feeling really well and strong again now, thankfully."

In Pickering, events have been organised by the Royal British Legion and Stape Silver Band to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of D-Day at 9pm in the Market Place with a beacon lighting.

The town's Memorial Hall will also be showing a short film about D-Day every 15 minutes from 11am to 1pm, while members of Pickering WI have created knitted displays.

A spokesperson said: " Pickering Town CIC will be supplying volunteer support for the event and we hope that residents will enjoy this short ceremony to mark this important anniversary."

At 11am, at the War Memorial in Terrington Churchyard there will be a commemorative message from Reverend Douglas Robertson together with reading of poems by Terrington school children and the playing of the Last Post by pupils from Terrington Hall School.

At 6.30pm, the church bells will be rung and from 6pm at the village hall, there is a D-Day Exhibition in the main hall with local World War Two history and 1940s music being played. There will also be some wartime vehicles on the Village Hall playing field. The bar will be open from 6pm till around 11pm. Chippy’s Mobile Fish & Chip van serving from 6pm until around 8pm or while stocks last and teas and coffees available from the village hall.

At 9.15pm, there will be the lighting of the Beacon as a ‘Light of Peace’ and a reading of The International Tribute There will be a collection in aid of the veterans’ charity Combat Stress throughout the evening.

Eden Camp Modern History Museum in Old Malton will commemorate the anniversary with immersive exhibits, where history comes to life, and gain a deeper understanding of the pivotal moments that shaped our world.

A spokesperson said: "From the daring paratrooper drops to the fierce battles on the sands, every step you take will be a tribute to the bravery of those who fought for freedom.

"There will be extra events over the weekend including presentations on the weapons and equipment used by both sides during Operation Overlord, the role played by US Airborne troops and learn about Piper Bill, the loan piper who played ‘Highland Laddie’, ‘The Road to the Isles’ and ‘All the Blue Bonnets Are over the Border’ on Gold beach on D-Day.

"Don’t miss this opportunity to commemorate a defining moment in history and honour the heroes who changed the course of World War II. Join us at Eden Camp for our D-Day 80th anniversary event and let us remember together the bravery and sacrifice of those who made history."