D-Day 50th Anniversary | British Newspaper Archive


Hot Off The Press – New Titles This Week

This week at The Archive we are marking the 80th anniversary of D-Day, the largest seaborne invasion in history, which took place in Normandy on 6 June 1944. Meanwhile, we’re celebrating adding 276,831 brand new pages to our collection, with one brand new title, the Hunts County News, joining us over the past seven days.

Furthermore, from Carluke to Crawley, from Kirkintilloch to Knaresborough, from Lincolnshire to Lurgan, we’ve added new pages to our existing titles from across the United Kingdom. So read on to discover more about these new pages, our brand new title of the week, and also to learn about the 1994 commemorations of D-Day, which marked 50 years since the Normandy landings.

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Before we take a look at how the 50th anniversary of D-Day was reported on in our new pages this week, we’d like to highlight our brand new title, which is the Hunts County News. This Liberal newspaper was first published on 20 March 1886 at the price of just one penny, and it ran with the tagline of ‘Instruct the people that they go forward.’

Established in the market town of Huntingdon, the county town of the historic county of Huntingdonshire, the weekly newspaper was unusually long for the time, reaching upwards of sixteen pages, when the average newspaper page count of the time was between four and eight pages. Such length saw the Hunts County News devote extensive columns to local politics, with detailed reporting on the Huntingdon and Godmanchester Liberal Association, as per the title’s Liberal political affiliation.

The Hunts County News, which circulated ‘throughout the county’ of Huntingdonshire, also had a firm handle on local news. Publishing local news under newspaper style headings, such as the ‘Huntingdon Journal’ and the ‘St Ives Times,’ the publication also summarised local happenings from the towns and villages of Bluntisham, Bythorn, Chesterton, Croxton, Earith, Gamlingay, Grafham, Houghton, Kimbolton, Peterborough, Ramsey, Sawtry, Somersham, Stilton, Willingham, Warboys, Waresley, and Yaxley.

Meanwhile, the Hunts County News paid attention to ‘Local Police Intelligence,’ publishing coverage from the petty sessions in Huntingdon, Ramsey, St Ives, St Neots, Norman Cross, and Sharnbrook. An earnestly Victorian newspaper, the publication verged on the serious as it eschewed such frivolities as a ladies’ column or a children’s column, instead choosing to concentrate on politics, its only special interest column being given over to ‘The Farm.’

That’s it from our solo new title of the week, but with 22 of our existing titles updated this week there’s still so much for you to explore. Indeed, its from these new pages that we will be taking a look at the 50th anniversary of D-Day in June 1994. Leading the charge are the over 30,000 brand new pages we have added to the Skegness Standard, whilst fellow Lincolnshire title the Lincolnshire Standard and Boston Guardian sees over 20,000 brand new pages join its ranks.

Other large updates this week are to Sussex’s Crawley and District Observer, with over 25,000 brand new pages joining this title, whilst over 22,000 brand new pages join Derbyshire’s Ripley and Heanor News and Ilkeston Division Free Press. Meanwhile, we’ve updated a trio of our Northern Irish titles (the Ballymena Weekly Telegraph, the Lurgan Mail and the Portadown Times), and a duo of Scottish titles (the Carluke and Lanark Gazette and the Kirkintilloch Herald).

A ‘Salute to ‘D-Day’ – Marking the 50th Anniversary of the Normandy Landings

Whilst our Archive contains extensive contemporary reports on D-Day, the Allied invasion of occupied France on 6 June 1944, we thought we’d look at how the 50th anniversary of the Normandy landings was reported on in our newspapers, as we mark another significant anniversary this week of the huge operation, which saw over 4,000 Allied servicemen lose their lives.

These reports hail from two of our updated newspapers this week, the Skegness Standard and the Lincolnshire Standard and Boston Guardian. The Lincolnshire Standard and Boston Guardian on 2 June 1994, four days ahead of the anniversary, reports how ‘Forty-nine Boston area D-Day veterans will set off [on] Saturday to return to the scene of one of the most important periods of their lives.’

The veterans were part of the Boston and District Normandy Veterans’ Association, and included Reg Ketteringham and George Stevenson, who ‘served together during the landings.’ The Lincolnshire Standard and Boston Guardian details how the pair recalled ‘that everyone was very frightened at the time’ of the landings, and ‘didn’t know what to expect.’ Reg and George had subsequently ‘kept in touch ever since and have become very good friends.’

With regards to the activities on the anniversary of D-Day, the newspaper reports how ‘there are five simultaneous commemoration services taking place…which will end with the veterans marching together through Arromanches in the afternoon.’ Meanwhile, back home in Lincolnshire, wreaths were set to ‘be laid simulatenously at both Boston and Sleaford war memorials.’

Meanwhile, fellow Lincolnshire paper the Skegness Standard provided its own ‘Salute to D-Day’ on 10 June 1994. The newspaper reported that in spite of ‘the wishes of the Skegness Branch of the Royal British Legion and the Normandy veterans that the commemoration of D-Day should be kept very low key, town mayor Coun. Mrs Edith Sutton decided that a church service should be held.’

A service was therefore held at St Matthew’s Church, with a ‘good congregation of Skegnessians and children of the Viking Preparatory School, as well as Legion members.’ Wreaths were laid and a minute’s silence held.

The Skegness Standard also published a report of local man Dennis Wittleton’s first hand experiences of D-Day. Dennis, a London native, had lied about his age when he enlisted in October 1940. Joining the 7th Essex Regiment, at just the age of 20 he found himself ‘feeling tired, hungry and frightened on landing barge 137 to join the D-Day landings.’ Dennis ‘landed on Normandy’s Sword Beach at 9.30am.’

In a remarkable account, the Skegness Standard details how Dennis ‘spent two or three days alone on the Bayeux Bridge, defending with only a Lance Corporal from Birmingham keeping him company.’ He then went on to spend his ’21st birthday just outside Caen’ before moving through Europe.

Of his experience of D-Day, Dennis said that ‘most of the men were frightened,’ whilst ‘several of the men from his own regiment [gave] their lives for their country.’ Fortunately, he was able to return home, and he became ‘one of the youngest men to drive a trolley bus.’

Find more first-hand experiences of D-Day, accounts of the Second World War, and much more besides, in the pages of our newspapers today.

New Titles
TitleYears Added
Hunts County News1886-1888, 1890-1891, 1900-1911, 1913-1917, 1919-1926
Updated Titles

This week we have updated 22 of our existing titles.

You can learn more about each of the titles we add to every week by clicking on their names. On each paper’s title page, you can read a free sample issue, learn more about our current holdings, and our plans for digitisation.

TitleYears Added
Ballymena Weekly Telegraph2003
Batley News1987
Bellshill Speaker1988-1989, 1992-1994
Belper News1922-1923, 1925, 1932
Berwick Advertiser1988, 1993-1998, 2000
Bucks Advertiser & Aylesbury News1987-1988, 1993-1994
Carluke and Lanark Gazette1990-1991, 1998
Crawley and District Observer1889, 1982-1984, 1986-1989, 1995
Dunstable Gazette1988
Eastbourne Herald1989, 1995
Harrogate Advertiser and Weekly List of the Visitors1990
Horncastle News1995
Jedburgh Gazette1957-1963
Kirkintilloch Herald1987-1989, 1993-1994
Knaresborough Post1988
Lincolnshire Standard and Boston Guardian1988-1989, 1993-1994, 2000
Lurgan Mail2000-2002
Morecambe Guardian1996
Portadown Times1960-1963, 1971-1977, 2000-2001
Ripley and Heanor News and Ilkeston Division Free Press1987-1988, 1993-1998, 2000-2001
Skegness Standard1986-1988, 1993-1995, 1997-2000
Worthing Herald1989, 1995

You can keep up to date with all the latest additions by visiting the recently added page.  You can even look ahead to see what we’re going to add tomorrow.


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