The council has defended its decision not to host a D-Day anniversary event in Swindon

The 80th anniversary of the day Allied forces stormed Normandy beaches in France to liberate them from the Germans fell on Thursday, June 6.

But while places nearby like Highworth and Royal Wootton Bassett held beacon-lighting events to mark the anniversary Swindon did not - although borough council leader Jim Robbins and fellow Labour councillor Kevin Small did represent the town at an event in Portsmouth. 

This caused anger among members of the public who felt that a town boasting Swindon's military links should have done more to mark the day by providing something for local people to attend. 

Mr Robinson from Westcott wrote to the Adver and said: "Like other people in Swindon, I was also very disappointed that Swindon did not host a commemorative D-Day 80th anniversary event. I was quite astonished by this, as Swindon played a leading role in the manufacturing of the D-Day landing craft and Spitfires.

Susan Hodey from Liden also wrote to the paper to express her disappointment. She said: "I was very disappointed - but not really surprised - that there were no official celebrations organised in Swindon to commentate [sic] the 80th anniversary of D-Day."

She added: "Come on Swindon Borough Council, this was a great chance to foster community relations while remembering all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom."

But Cllr Robbins defended the decision. 

He said: “The 80th anniversary of D-Day was an extremely poignant occasion where the whole country acknowledged the bravery and sacrifices made by Allied troops on the beaches of Normandy.

“We were aware that some of our local veterans were attending the national events in Portsmouth and Normandy and, as a result, took the decision not to hold our own event in Swindon, to keep the focus on the major commemoration events taking place on the anniversary.

“Myself and Cllr Small were very proud and humbled to be asked to represent the town at the D-Day commemorations in Portsmouth by the Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire. It was an incredibly moving event and we made sure we stayed to the end so we could pay our respects to the veterans and those who died during the D-Day landings.”