Following a request from His Majesty King Charles III that beacons be lit to mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings, a ceremony will take place on Tenby’s Castle Hill tomorrow, Thursday, June 6.

At 11am, Mayor of Tenby Cllr Dai Morgan will lay a wreath at the War Memorial. 

At 6pm, there will be a talk by David Llewellyn at Tenby Museum and Art Gallery on ‘D-Day - The View from across the Channel’. The one-hour talk looks at the subject from the different perspective of facing the invasion, going through the events of the day, and learning about some of the characters involved. Tickets are £6. 

Around 8.50pm, all are welcome as the mayor joins councillors, Tenby Royal British Legion representatives and local cadets in procession from Castle Square to Castle Hill, to read the International D-Day Tribute and light the beacon (9.15pm). 

It will form a part of a UK-wide chain of Beacons and Lamp Lights of Peace in memory of World War II Operation Overlord.

The Normandy landings in 1944 saw the opening of Europe’s Second Front which would eventually lead to the downfall of Hitler’s Nazi regime 11 months later - and Tenby, Saundersfoot, Amroth and Pendine played a significant part in planning the invasion.

Codenamed ‘Jantzen’, an exercise on local beaches in 1943 enabled the allies to plan the greatest combined complex military operation the world had ever seen.

Exercise ‘Jantzen’ concentrated on logistics: loading essential supplies, beach maintenance and the construction of airstrips.

Over 20 coastal steamers were involved, as well as landing craft, 10 concrete barges for transporting fuel and 10 amphibious craft (‘Alligators’). One of the barges later served as a landing stage at Caldey Island.

Simulated ‘enemy’ attacks were made by the Home Guard and the Polish Air Squadron No. 307 simulated the enemy air-force. Winston Churchill himself viewed procedures from Wiseman’s Bridge.

Ranging from calm to gale conditions, the weather gave experience of a varied climate which might well be encountered in an actual invasion.

A dawn to dusk curfew was imposed in Tenby from July 12 to August 9. There was an intense feeling of speculation in the air in the town, as no one really knew what was happening.

Overall, ‘Jantzen’ was seen as a failure, primarily because the concrete barges leaked, losing valuable petroleum, but it provided much experience and taught valuable lessons for the invasion.