Just over 80 years ago today, there was a break in the weather. It was still choppy on the Channel, but the conditions were good enough to go.

What followed was the greatest amphibious operation in the history of the world, and the tide that swamped much of mainland Europe began to turn.

The “selfless sacrifice and courage” of those who changed history in making the perilous journey to the Normandy beaches and beyond was remembered this morning.

A small, dignified service, organised by Petersfield Town Council and the Royal British Legion, to mark the 80thanniversary of D-Day, took place on The Square and High Street.

Around 200 people watched the service, with veterans, cadets and members of the armed forces gathering for an 8am proclamation from town crier, Faye Thompson.

The proclamation, repeated at the same time by criers around the country, hailed an “incredible achievement in military planning and logistics” and “brave service personnel” who took part.

It continued: “We should remember and never forget the selfless sacrifice and courage of all those involved and use this commemoration to pay tribute to all those who gave so much to secure the freedom we all enjoy today.”

The parade then made its way along the High Street to the war memorial for a Service to Give Thanks led by Rev Will Hughes before the Last Post was sounded and wreaths were laid.

Petersfield D-Day 80 Ceremony PIC3
Around 200 people took part in this morning's event in Petersfield town centre (Tindle/Paul Ferguson)

The service struck the perfect balance between commemoration and celebration, and remembrance and pride.

Rev Hughes said: “Although its cost was far too high in lives lost, it was also a vast achievement – and an achievement undertaken because we knew it mattered.

“We knew that although the cost would be high, the work had to be done, for the world needed our hearts to stand against evil. And free those living under tyranny.”