Thanksgiving service for D-Day on UK flagship HMS Albion

The ship's company formed a giant '75' to commemorate 75 years since D-Day(Photo: Royal Navy)

Officers on the Royal Navy's flagship HMS Albion formed a giant number '75' on the flight deck to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day on Wednesday. 

More than 500 personnel from the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, soldiers and airmen gathered on the flight deck for the service of thanksgiving and remembrance led by the ship's chaplain, the Rev Eddie Wills. 

The giant '75' was formed in tribute to all those who fought on D-Day, marking the start of the liberation of Europe from Nazi oppression. 

Around 500 personnel gathered for the service of thanksgiving(Photo: Royal Navy)
The service was led by the ship's chaplain, the Rev Eddie Wills (Photo: Royal Navy)

Those gathered heard about the ultimate sacrifice paid by many of those who took part in the Normandy landings on Tuesday, 6 June 1944. 

Commodore James Parkin shared about the loss of his great uncle, Able Seaman George Rexstrew, who was a crewman on Landing Barge Vehicle 42. 

The small vessel sailed from Poole on the night of June 5, 1944, as one of over 400 barges dispatched to support the Normandy landings and help American forces storm Omaha Beach.

Tragically, it never reached its destination, being attacked and sunk by the Germans in the English Channel.  All four crew were lost and Rexstrew's body was never found.  However, a permament tribute is paid to him at the Naval War Memorial in Southsea where his name is inscribed on a memorial plaque. 

The service also included readings of General Eisenhower's Order of the Day and extracts from the memoirs of Royal Naval Chaplain Mike Crooks, who served on a US Landing Ship on June 6.