‘The D-Day Story Portsmouth’ - South Western Railway honours D-Day veterans

Tuesday 04th June 2019
Artificer Jimmy Ockendon at Portsmouth Harbour station

  • South Western Railway names train in honour of D-Day veterans ahead of the 75th anniversary of the Normandy landings
  • Re-enactment at London Waterloo of iconic scene from 1939 (a British Tommie and his sweetheart kissing before train departs)
  • Special train naming at Portsmouth Harbour with local schoolchildren, Deputy Leader of Portsmouth City Council Cllr Pitt and 97 year old Royal Navy veteran, Artificer Ockendon (pictured)
  • D-Day known as the largest seaborne invasion in history involving dozens of nations, laying foundations for Allied victory in Nazi-occupied Europe

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, South Western Railway dedicated the name ‘The D-Day Story Portsmouth’ to one of its trains earlier today (Tuesday 4 June).

This was in recognition of the landmark anniversary, and the city’s dedicated visitor attraction that tells the story of Operation Overlord and the courageous D-Day landings.

The day began at London Waterloo where period actors re-enacted an iconic scene from the home-front in 1939. The scene (pictured below) depicts a couple lovingly embraced on the platform, kissing as the British Tommie’s train is set to depart for operational duty.

D-Day re-enactment kiss at London Waterloo

Arriving at Portsmouth Harbour station shortly after 10.00, the special train was met by 80 enthusiastic, Union Jack waving children from Fernhurst Primary School. Adding to the occasion, the Maritime Brass Ensemble band played a number of familiar war-time classics.

Unveiling the plaque was Artificer Jimmy Ockendon, a 97-year-old World War Two veteran who served in the Royal Navy, along with Deputy Leader of Portsmouth City Council, Cllr Pitt.

Andy Mellors, Managing Director for South Western Railway, said:

“So many of those who took part in the D-Day landings travelled from Waterloo down to Portsmouth, just as we have done today. We have a very strong connection to the city of Portsmouth and this train-naming serves as a permanent reminder of the sacrifice made by those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.”

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Leader of Portsmouth City Council, said:

"The D-Day Story tells the amazing story of what happened 75 years ago, in the place that was at the heart of the action - Portsmouth. Having a train named after the museum is a wonderful way to start our commemoration of D-Day, at a time when so many people are making their way to our city for the anniversary."