Labour’s newly elected Deputy Group Leader and ward councillor for Charles Dickens, Cllr Stephen Morgan will be following in his grandfather’s footsteps as he takes the journey with the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth and official delegation to Caen, in France, this weekend.
The civic visit is part of a series of activities to mark 72nd anniversary of the landings.
Cllr Morgan’s grandfather, the late James Kaminski, a Portsmouth resident all his life, was one of the hundreds of men who left the shores of the Solent for the coast of northern France on 6 June 1944 as part of the Normandy Landings codenamed ‘Operation Neptune’.
James Kaminski landed on Juno Beach on D-Day with the Royal Army Service Corps. He had only joined the army four months previously and drove a variety of vehicles. On 7 June 1944 turned 17 years of age during the conflict in northern France. Later in life he was a founding and active member of the Normandy Veterans Association and local British Legion.
D-Day was the start of the largest seaborne invasion in history, the operation began the liberation of German-occupied north western Europe from Nazi control, and contributed to the Allied victory on the Western Front.
Cllr Stephen Morgan said:
“I feel hugely honoured to have the opportunity to join the delegation going to Caen to mark our respects on behalf of the City. I will be paying tribute with colleagues to all those who gave their lives in this operation which started the liberation of mainland Europe.
But this will be an emotional journey for me also paying my respects for my late grandfather’s efforts. He like many others gave so much to our great city and our country, and it is important their stories continue to be passed on through these anniversaries and other important civic events”.
The city’s delegation will be hosted by Mr Joel Bruneau, Mayor of Caen.
Cllr Morgan intends to take his grandfather’s medals with him on the trip to show the French hosts as part of the anniversary’s commemorations.