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A national commemoration called “Light a Lamp of Peace” is being held on 6th June, the 80th anniversary of D-Day. The involvement of the Tarbat area in the training for D-Day makes it appropriate that events should be organised in Portmahomack.


The programme, organised at the instigation of HM Lord Lieutenant, is: -

6.15 PM. Family barbecue outside Carnegie Hall (inside if raining). Please bring your own drinks, and BBQ will be reasonable priced cover the cost of the food. £3 for a burger

6.30 PM. Tarbat Discovery Centre’s bell (dating from 1764) will be rung for five minutes.

7.15 PM. FilmThe Great Escaper” in the Carnegie Hall. Please donate generously to cover costs. (Any surplus will go to Bravehound, a charity supporting service veterans and supplying assistance dogs.) The film, starring Michael Caine and Glenda Jackson, is based on the true story of a veteran who absconded from a care home to attend D-Day 70th anniversary events in Normandy.

9.15 PM, weather permitting. Portmahomack beach.

On a signal from Dornoch, lighting of a bonfire to match bonfires at Dornoch and Inver. Bonfires will be lit nationally.

Lone piper.

Salute by Portmahomack Coastal Rowing Club.

Commemorative reading by Annie Stewart, Deputy Lord Lieutenant.


On D-Day, 6th June, 1944, British, American and Canadian forces launched Operation Overlord, the greatest combined naval, air and land assault in history. By the end of the day they had gained a foothold along the Normandy coast. This was the beginning of a costly liberation of northwest Europe, and it led to the defeat of Nazi Germany within a year.

The operation required intensive training. In November 1943 the War Cabinet approved recommendations that 500 yards of coast between the Arboll Burn and the rocks at Balnabruach were ideal for practicing tank landing, that the hinterland to the south as far as the other coast was suitable for armoured units to train with live ammunition, and that the airfields at Tain and Fearn should be used. 15 square miles, mainly in the parish of Tarbat, but also including the village of Inver, were requisitioned. 900 people and all the farm animals in this area were evacuated. Access to Portmahomack village was strictly regulated.

Major training exercises were carried out in the first quarter of 1944. The evacuees began to return in April, many reporting damages which required compensation. There can be no doubt that the evacuation and the exercises carried out on our beaches and fields facilitated the successful British landings at Sword Beach and Gold Beach on 6thJune, 1944.