Pupils from Ellesmere primary school are preparing to ‘launch’ an armada of small ships in a symbolic re-creation of the 1944 D-Day landings that helped bring an end to the Second World War and the defeat of Nazi Germany.

The children are making a fleet of model boats which will be placed near the town’s War Memorial as part of a special event on Thursday, June 6, to mark the 80th anniversary of the Allied invasion of the Normandy beaches in France.

The evening of commemoration, at St Mary’s parish church, has been jointly organised by Ellesmere Town Council and the local branch of the Royal British Legion.    It will feature poems and reading by the primary schoolchildren and students from Lakelands Academy, together with music by the award-winning Porthywaen Silver Band.

The model ships will be planted in the churchyard when the Mayor of Ellesmere, Councillor Graham Hutchinson, lays a wreath at the War Memorial before the service in honour of those who died during the D-Day landings and the ensuring battle of Normandy.  Local scouts are producing their own little boats and a large replica of a Royal Navy ship will also be on display, to represent the six thousand vessels involved in the largest seaborne invasion in history.  It was built by Tony Boys, a member of the local Fizzgigs community arts group.

The Head Teacher at Ellesmere primary school, Nicola Bond. explained: “The children are learning how D-Day changed everything in the Second World War and they are looking forward to taking part in the commemoration.    They are very grateful and proud of the achievements and sacrifices made by all our men and women during the war and they want to keep the memories alive.”

Bob McBride, chairman of the Legion’s Ellesmere and District Branch, said:  “As well as raising money to look after the welfare needs of servicemen and women, a big part of our mission is to keep the flame of remembrance burning, so it’s a really heart-warming to see young people from our local schools getting involved in an event like this at an early age.

“I hope that older residents in the town and surrounding area will also come along to this commemoration.  D-Day was a crucial turning point in the Second World War.  Thousands of Allied troops were killed and wounded in the June the sixth landings and the subsequent battle of Normandy, and we have a duty to remember the sacrifices that they made to give us the freedoms we enjoy today.”

  • Mary’s church will be open from 6.30 pm when bells will be rung. The wreath-laying will take place at 7.30, followed by the service of commemoration at 7.45. Refreshments will be available after the service and a beacon will be lit at 9.15 p.m. to coincide with the lighting of similar’ beacons for peace’ around the UK and on the beaches of Normandy.

Rosie and Thomas, two of the Ellesmere primary school pupils who are making model ships to commemorate the D-Day anniversary.