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D-Day memorial service in Southsea

The seafront was packed today Credit: Richard Jones

A memorial service has been taking place in Southsea to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day. Hundreds of people have gathered around the D-Day stone to sing hymns and pray.

Among them were veterans, their relatives, and children from nearby schools. Following the service there was a parade along the seafront to the D-Day Museum.

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Women at work, supporting the invasion

Celia Osborne from Eastbourne was a member of the Auxiliary Territorial Service, the women's branch of the British Army in wartime. A Lance-Corporal, she volunteered for ''overseas duty'', joining the first major batch of women to land on the Normandy Beaches a month after D-Day.

The Battle of Normandy was still raging. They were dug into covered holes a couple of miles from the beaches. The women were clerks and secretarial staff working on orders issued to the troops as they advanced. Celia boarded a troop ship in Southampton in July 1944 as part of a group of 200 women.

She landed on the Mulberry Harbour at Corselles, after a journey of 24 hours, including a transfer onto a landing craft. The women worked in makeshift offices under canvas. Celia followed the group all the way to Belgium and was there when the war ended.

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Clearing the beaches for the Allied advance

Ian Hammerton from Dartford was a Lieutenant and Tank Commander on D-Day. He was in charge of a number of flail tanks during the attack. These are tanks which have weighted chains on the front of them, placed on top a revolving drum. They thrash the ground ahead to clear mines.

His section was among the first wave to land on Juno Beach on the morning of 6th June 1944. Mr Hammerton still has the military maps - marked Top Secret - he was given before he left to take part in the invasion

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