D-DAY veterans have voiced their disgust that Bournemouth will not be honouring the 70th anniversary of their heroism on the Normandy beaches.
Bournemouth council has not organised any events for veterans or any commemorations.
Poole initially told the Daily Echo it was holding a series of “artist-led events”, but its mayor has since contacted the Daily Echo to point out it is holding several commemorations.
However, the mayor will be welcoming two Americans who are visiting the town to retrace their movements of 70 years ago.
Stanley Hartill, 93, of Bournemouth, who served with RAF Servicing Commando in Normandy, said: “I’m disgusted to think that they haven’t honoured the people who helped to save our country so many years ago.
“If you imagine what would have happened if the Germans had pushed us back into the sea and we had lost, that would have been the end. We would have lost the war and you would have jackboots and swastikas all around Bournemouth.”
He said he had been told that the council was marking the centenary of the First World War.
“I said: ‘They’ve all gone. There aren’t many of us left from World War Two and I would have thought you would have looked after us at the same time.”
Portsmouth council is holding six days of commemorations for the anniversary, including a concert by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and a host of events for veterans.
The Queen will join world leaders including President Obama, Russian president Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister David Cameron for events on the Normandy beaches.
Former councillor Phil Carey, 93, who was with tactical support in the RAF, said councils were concentrating on the First World War centenary.
“But there are no survivors of that, whereas for the Second World War there are survivors. There really should be more interest in the Second World War,” he said.
“The council should be making some effort in this department.”
Ten years ago, the mayor of Bournemouth welcomed Normandy veterans for the presentation of commemorative badges at the Town Hall.
This year, the mayor’s diary for June 6 includes only the opening of a Southbourne hotel and a charity dinner.
A council spokesperson said the authority “hadn’t had any requests” to organise D-Day events.
“We haven’t been approached by any groups. It would be something we would be happy to discuss for the future,” she added.
When Poole council was asked what it was doing to mark the anniversary, it pointed the Daily Echo to a series of “artist-led” events being held by the museums service.
But the town’s mayor, Cllr Peter Adams, contacted the Daily Echo on Saturday to point out that the authority was doing much more.
“We have taken it very seriously and we have a series of events and actions already taken to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the 100th anniversary of the commencement of WWI,” he said.
“They comprise a service on the Quay for veterans and anyone there is invited.
“It also comprises going out to Old Harry Rocks and laying a wreath on the water. We will later in the year, at a date to be arranged, have a veterans’ celebration in the council that will be a regalia presentation as well as a tea.
“Already the council has approved the planting of up to 100 patches of poppies in various situations all over Poole. We’ve got five or six events at the library particularly targeted towards our younger people, so the younger people appreciate the huge sacrifices their grandparents and great grandparents made in these two terrible wars.”
Poole's arts and museums service has been working on a project called We’ll Meet Again, Don’t Know Where, Don’t Know When: Voices of Departure from Poole.
Artist Jacky Oliver will be in Poole every Thursday to Saturday throughout June, working at Poole Museum and at care homes and children’s centres.
The resulting artwork will be displayed at the museum before moving to Musée de la Libération in Poole’s French twin-town, Cherbourg-Octeville.