D Day commemorations are held around Clogher Diocese


Revd Mark Gallagher Chaplain at Enniskillen Airport with Alan Cathcart Airport Manager.

A number of events are planned in Clogher Diocese next week to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, France on June 6th 1944.

A special community service to mark the 80th anniversary of D Day will take place in St Macartin’s Cathedral, Enniskillen on Thursday 6th June at 8pm. This service will also celebrate the 75th anniversary of the local County Fermanagh Branch, Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA). The service will particularly remember the service and sacrifice of thousands of military personnel as well as the thousands of US soldiers who trained in Co. Fermanagh during WW2 in preparation for the Normandy Landings. Following the service there will be a Beacon lighting ceremony in the grounds of St Macartin’s Cathedral.

During the service, the County Fermanagh Branch RAFA are dedicating new cords for their standard which will signify their 75th anniversary. These cords have been donated by the Eames family in memory of Bill Eames, a former President of the County Fermanagh Branch. Before joining the Royal Air Force in WW2, Bill attended Enniskillen Model School, Portora Royal School and St Macartin’s Cathedral and his name is proudly recorded on the Cathedral’s WW2 memorial. On D Day, Flight Lieutenant Eames, from Enniskillen, piloted a plane towing a glider into Normandy.

Later at midnight on Thursday, 6 June, Rossorry Parish Church on the outskirts of Enniskillen
will be marking the 80th anniversary of D Day Landings with a service called “85 Days Remembered” recalling the events of the first day.

On Saturday 8th June, Enniskillen Airport, formerly RAF St Angelo during WW2, will host one of the largest community commemorations in Northern Ireland at 11am to mark D-Day 80 with something for all the family including WW2 displays, regimental bands and military village.

Immediately before the event there will be a service at 10am in Trory Parish Church overlooking the Airport conducted by the Rector, Revd Mark Gallagher, who is also Airport Chaplain. This will take the form of a Drumhead Service for the Royal Dragoon Guards with music from The Regimental Pipes and Drums of the Royal Dragoon Guards and a special guest soloist.

D Day was an incredible achievement in military planning and logistics and by the day’s end, over 150,000 Allied troops had successfully stormed the now famous Gold, Juno, Sword, Utah and Omaha beaches to achieve a toehold in France.

In the weeks that followed, the Allies fought bitterly against a determined foe to the liberation of Paris two months later. This military operation signalled the beginning of the end of World War Two.

A spokesperson for the organising committee of the event at Enniskillen Airport stated; “We should all remember the selfless sacrifice and courage of all those involved in D Day and beyond and this 80th anniversary provides a wonderful opportunity to pay our tribute to those who gave so much to secure the freedoms we all enjoy today.

“County Fermanagh was a training base for D-Day and thousands of US Soldiers, mostly young men, were based here prior to D-Day. Over 20 US and RAF bases were located in Fermanagh during WW2 including Castle Archdale, Killadeas, St Angelo, Crom Castle and Celtic Park. Approximately a quarter of Fermanagh’s population was American military personnel towards the end of the Second World War and such was the strategic importance of Fermanagh that both General Patton and General Eisenhower both visited Enniskillen in early 1944 to ensure that their soldiers were ready and prepared for D-Day.”