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Commemorating the 80th Anniversary of D-Day

The 6th of June 2024 marks 80 years since the Allied Forces landed on the shores of Normandy, France. D-Day was and remains to be the largest naval, air and land operation in history. 150,000 brave men landed along 5 beaches spanning a 50-mile stretch of coastline in Normandy. The beaches were given the following code names: Utah, Omaha, Juno, Gold and Sword.

D-Day gave a beacon of light during the darkest of times during World War II as Allied Forces invaded Nazi-occupied France and changed the course of the war in the Allies' favour. On this 80th anniversary of D-Day, HCL, joins LACA, Bidfood, McCains, Youngs and many individuals, businesses and the UK government to commemorate those who fought for freedom.

The High Sheriff of Hertfordshire, Annie Brewster, along with Patrick Lewis, Head of Sales and Marketing at HCL, visited Peartree Spring Primary School to speak at the assembly about the importance of remembering D-Day through lessons at school as well as hearing stories passed down by family members of their experiences during the Second World War. The High Sheriff in honour of her mother, wore her mother's service medals and invited three pupils to join her on stage and try on two of her mother's World War II army uniforms. The High Sheriff told the pupils,

"The most important message I have for you today is to go onto YouTube, have a look for D-Day, see what actually happened, because it's really important that we don't forget what happened, so that it never happens again."

- [Annie Brewster, High Sheriff of Hertfordshire]

Pupils and High Sherrif D-Day
80th Anniversary of D-Day: The High Sheriff of Hertfordshire Annie Brewster, HCL Head of Sales & Marketing Patrick Lewis, and pupils from Peartree Spring commemorating D-Day.

Pupils and High Sheriff
The High Sheriff with three pupils dressed in her mother's Army uniforms and the 100 year old High Sheriff Hat

Patrick also visited Featherstone Wood Primary School and shared a touching story of his grandmother, who served as a Nurse during the war and received the British Red Cross. Sharing stories from our grandparents and great-grandparents gives us a small and significant insight into what life was like during the war.

Pupils with photo and medals from WWII
Patrick Lewis with pupils from Featherstone Wood Primary School commemorating the 80th Anniversary of D-Day

Patrick spoke about the value in hearing personal stories from during the war;

"I'm sure most of us in this room have grandparents or great-grandparents who were alive during the war and have many stories to tell. I urge you to go home and ask your family about their stories so that you can learn about what life was like for them during the war. It's up to each of us to carry on sharing these stories through the generations."

- [Patrick Lewis, Head of Sales and Marketing]

Patrick and the High Sheriff enjoyed a wartime inspired lunch at Peartree Spring with several pupils. On the menu was British Fish 'n Chips and Peas - which went down a treat! Thank you to all of the HCL Kitchen Teams who have made an exceptional effort today across all of our schools.

In our presentation, we touched on the food rationing during the war, which was rolled out as a means to manage the national food shortage as well as ensure an equal share of the food in the country. We asked pupils whether they knew which food items were rationed and what they thought the food must have been like during the war. In January 1940, the British Ministry of Food issued every man, woman and child a ration book containing coupons that could be exchanged for food. 16 coupons were given to each person per month, with foods such as meat costing up to 20 coupons. From the food rationing came the government's call to encourage the nation to grow their own vegetables, campaigns such as 'Dig for Victory' and 'Grow Your Own' were launched.

We encourage everyone to share the stories that they've heard passed down from family or friends about wartime life, as we commemorate the heroism of those who fought during the war.

Thank you again to the incredible staff at both Featherstone Wood Primary School and Peartree Spring Primary School, especially Executive Head Teacher Teresa Skeggs.


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