WATCH: Hartlepool remembers 71st anniversary of D-Day landings

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The sacrifice of thousands who gave their lives on the first day of the liberation of Europe was honoured in Hartlepool today.

Ceremonial mayor Coun Mary Fleet and mayoress Coun Sheila Griffin were among those who laid flowers at the town’s war memorial to mark the 71st anniversary of the D-Day landings.

Flowers were laid at Hartlepool's war memorial today to mark the 71st anniversary of the D-Day landings on 6 June 1944.

Flowers were laid at Hartlepool's war memorial today to mark the 71st anniversary of the D-Day landings on 6 June 1944.

The ceremony was organised by former Territorial Army member Michelle Winship, whose husband Andrew served in Northern Ireland and Bosnia as a member of the 2nd Battalion of the Light Infantry.

The couple had been disappointed to see last year’s 70th anniversary pass off unmarked and resolved not to let the same thing happen again, explained Michelle.

“We drove past last year and saw nothing was happening, so we bought some flowers from Morrison’s,” she said.

“It was just quite sad, driving past, that there was nothing on the cenotaph.

Michelle Winship

“It was very disappointing.

“We don’t have that many veterans left from D-Day and I think it is very important to show our respects - not only to those who are left, but to those who did not come back.

“It does not cost a lot of money, and in a town of 100,000 people, I felt we could have done more.

“It was a poor show – we should be doing more for our veterans community.”

Among those paying their respects was Jean Kennedy, whose father Thomas Charles Rorks served in the Royal Artillery for more than 30 years and escaped from the beaches of Dunkirk.

“I was an army child from birth right up until the day I got married.

“So it was very important for me to come along today and pay my respects,” she said.

“I can still remember listening to the news about the D-Day landings on the wireless.

“I was only five and I am 76 now, but I have never forgotten it.”