A solemn service was held last week as town residents and dignitaries gathered to remember the soldiers, sailors and airmen of D-Day.

The held at Westhoughton Cenotaph marked the 80th anniversary of the famous storming of the beaches at Normandy that led to the liberation of Europe from Nazi Germany.

Westhoughton’s commemorations were led by town mayor and veteran Cllr Neil Maher, who reflected on his own experiences of the Falklands conflict.

He said: “In 1982 I disembarked SS Canberra to land at San Carlos Bay as part of the task force to retake the Falkland Islands.

Cllr Maher laying a wreath Cllr Maher laying a wreath (Image: Public)

“I was very conscious I was carrying a ridiculous amount of personal equipment that weighed as much as me and was being taken to the shore on a small venerable vessel, and if I ended up in the water my chance of survival was negligible.

“Left with my thoughts I awaited my fate.

The ceremony was attended by people from across the townThe ceremony was attended by people from across the town (Image: Public)

“However, once ashore I parked those thoughts until 18 years later when I watched the beach landing scenes in Saving Private Ryan.

“I realised I’d tasted a small slither of this awful reality, and I was in awe of their much greater experience, adrenaline, fear, smell, noise, confusion, and sacrifice that our soldiers, sailors, airmen and not forgetting their families left behind gave for us and our today.

“We should and will remember them.”

Wreaths laid at the monument Wreaths laid at the monument (Image: Public)

The D-Day landings of June 6, 1944 saw more than 150,000 British, American and other Allied troops launch the invasion of Normandy in northern France, then under Nazi occupation.

The operation would prove to be the largest seaborne invasion in history and would help bring about an Allied victory.

Names of the fallenNames of the fallen (Image: Public)

Ahead of the milestone anniversary, Cllr Sarita Chohan, also a veteran, and Cllrs David Wilkinson and Gillian Wroe had helped clean up the cenotaph.

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The short ceremony, attended by around 50 people, was followed by church service later at St Bartholomew’s Church led by Reverend Carol Pharaoh.

Cllr Maher attended as town mayor along with his wife and mayoress Linda Maher.

The Westhoughton events came alongside a series of other events across the borough marking the famous anniversary.

A service was held at Bolton Parish Church in the town centre attended by Mayor of Bolton Cllr Andy Morgan and featured the Bolton Hoover Band and The Caledonia Pipe Band.