Allied Chiefs watch tank manoeuvres in preparation for D-Day landings

75th ANNIVERSARY: H&F marks D-Day planning in Hammersmith

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Allied Chiefs Air Marshal Arthur Tedder (1890-1967), General Dwight D Eisenhower (1890-1969), and Field Marshall Bernard L Montgomery (1887-1976) watch tank manoeuvres in preparation for the D-Day landings, 25 February 1944. PICTURE: GETTY IMAGES

It proved to be the turning point in the Second World War – but few realise that D-Day was planned in Hammersmith by Winston Churchill, the King and Generals Eisenhower and Montgomery.

To mark the 75th anniversary of the beach landings which led to the retaking of continental Europe by the Allied forces, an event is being held in the gardens of the former St Paul’s School in Hammersmith Road, where Operation Overlord was finalised.

D-Day plaque in the gardens of the former St Paul’s School
D-Day plaque in the gardens of the former St Paul’s School in Hammersmith Road

The only building surviving from 6 June 1944 is the old school’s High House (now the St Paul’s Hotel), the front garden (today known as St Paul’s Gardens) and the surrounding walls.

But on Saturday 8 June there will be a commemorative anniversary gathering in the gardens with military vehicles, wartime music, food and drink, a children’s obstacle course and fun for all the family.

Schools in Hammersmith & Fulham are invited to enter paintings, drawings and models to a competition on the theme What happened on D-Day?

“This is an opportunity to commemorate one of the most significant moments in local history, when D-Day and the liberation of Europe in the Second World War was planned by the Allied leaders in Hammersmith,” said Cllr Stephen Cowan, Leader of the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham.

Troops from the 48th Royal Marines during the D-Day landings
Troops from the 48th Royal Marines at Saint-Aubin-sur-mer on Juno Beach, Normandy, France, during the D-Day landings, 6 June 1944. PICTURE: GETTY IMAGES

The D-Day invasion was one of the most complex military operations ever undertaken, with 160,000 troops crossing the English Channel in a day, supported by hundreds of warships and planes.

The H&F schools art competition has three age groups, 9-11, 12-13 and 14-16 with a maximum entry of three in each age group per school. Entries can be paintings, drawings or models, but should be no larger than A3 in size.

They should be delivered to the marquee in the gardens behind St Paul’s Hotel from 8-10am on the day, and collected from 4-5pm on the same day. Entries can’t be stored afterwards. All entries are at owners’ risk.

Judging will take place during the party, with winning entries receiving £250 for their school, and being displayed in the hotel.

The D-Day commemorative event on Saturday 8 June is at St Paul’s Garden, Hammersmith Road, W14 0QL, from 11am-5pm. All welcome.

Download a historical information board about the original site of St Paul’s School in Hammersmith Road (pdf 1MB)

The old St Paul’s School High House
The old St Paul’s School High House (now the St Paul’s Hotel) and the front garden (today known as St Paul’s Gardens)

Fleets of US transport and landing craft on D-Day
14 July 1944: Fleets of US transport and landing craft disgorge reinforcements and supplies for the US troops who liberated the Contentin peninsula. PICTURE: GETTY IMAGES

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