75th Commemorations for D-Day were held at the end of May by Gosport Borough Council at Stokes Bay, the departure point for thousands of men in 1944. At Hardway, another embarkation point in Gosport, the Friends of Hardway held Commemorations on 6th June 2019.
At both, Gosport D-Day Fellowship had tables displaying photographs of Gosport in 1943 and 1944 and the write-ups which showed personal information about the 25 men who have been identified from the Hardway Embarkation Board, along with copies of the board. This is the large piece of paper placed on a gate in June 1944 and signed by hundreds of men as they passed.
Two members of one family attended the Stokes Bay Commemorations, seven members of the same family attended Hardway and six members of two other families also came to Hardway. It was lovely to meet them all. One family stayed in the B&B belonging to the grandson of the gentleman who had put the board on his gate.
There was a huge amount of interest in the board at both Commemoration events, so now work is ongoing to prepare a talk with slide-show. This will be premiered, hopefully, at Hardway Sailing Club in October and if it is felt to be worthwhile, will be offered to local WI’s and other groups.
Everyone seemed to feel that the board was an amazing historical survivor and the aim is to tell as many people as possible about it.
If you think a relative of yours could have left for Normandy from Gosport, please make contact. There are several Canadians amongst the signatures and quite a few RAF and RCAF.