Nottinghamshire played a key role in D-Day

Spitfires in WWII were powered by Merlin engines built in Nottinghamshire
Spitfires in WWII were powered by Merlin engines built in Nottinghamshire

Like me, I am sure that many of you will have been deeply moved by last week’s D-Day 75 commemorations and the many stories of courage, selfless bravery and sacrifice retold by veterans and the descendants of those that didn’t make it home, writes Coun Kay Cutts, Nottinghamshire County Council leader.

D-Day is still the largest ever seaborne invasion in history and was a pivotal moment, not only in the war, but in the modern history of the entire planet.

I am especially proud that Nottinghamshire played a vital role on D-Day – not only on the beaches, skies and seas around Normandy, but back home in the fields, mines and factories, which were equally as important in providing the supplies to keep troops going.

Many of the aircraft used on D-Day, including the Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster, were powered by Merlin engines, developed at Hucknall Rolls Royce.

In fact, Nottinghamshire was one of the major locations for training volunteers to become bomber air crew.

Sadly, this also meant that many were killed in the process, with numerous memorials now in place at crash sites across the county.

READ THIS: County veteran shares his experiences of D-Day.

Nottinghamshire was also a base for the US Army and a new hospital was built for troops next to the site of the current King’s Mill Hospital in 1942.

Wollaton Hall also acted as both a base for American paratroopers and a prisoner of war camp.

It is imperative that we not only remember events like D-Day to learn lessons for the future, but also remain grateful to those that served at the term.

The council recently supported a trip to the National Arboretum for 50 local veterans to coincide with the D-Day anniversary.

This was part of the Veterans Together scheme, where groups of veterans aged over 65 meet around the county to socialise and take part in activities and commemorative projects.

The scheme started in 2017 and there are now groups in Beeston, Mansfield, Netherfield and Worksop.