D-Day80 -BFRS Past Family Military History

 D-Day80 UK: Remembering History and Honoring Legacy with the BFRS Team


As we approach the 80th anniversary of D-Day, known as D-Day80, the significance of this monumental event in history cannot be overstated.

D-Day, the Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, was a turning point in World War II, marking the beginning of the end of the Nazi occupation of Europe. This year, the United Kingdom is preparing to commemorate this event with a series of events and memorials, paying tribute to the bravery and sacrifice of those who fought for freedom.


Family Ties


One group particularly invested in this commemoration is the British Forces Resettlement Services (BFRS) team. This organisation, dedicated to supporting service leavers and their families, holds a special connection to D-Day through the personal histories of its members.

Many within the BFRS team have family members who participated in the first and second world wars, making this anniversary not just a national observance but a deeply personal one.


The Significance of D-Day80


D-Day80 serves as a poignant reminder of the courage displayed by Allied forces. On that fateful day, over 156,000 troops from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and other Allied nations stormed the beaches of Normandy under relentless fire.


The operation, codenamed "Operation Overlord," was one of the largest amphibious military assaults in history. Despite the formidable defenses of the German forces, the Allies achieved a critical victory that paved the way for the liberation of Western Europe. As we honor the 80th anniversary, it is crucial to reflect on the sacrifices made by those who served. The stories of valor, resilience, and solidarity continue to inspire new generations and remind us of the price of freedom.


The BFRS Team and Their Personal Connections 


The BFRS team is composed of individuals who have dedicated their careers to aiding those transitioning from military to civilian life. Their mission is rooted in a deep respect for military service and a commitment to supporting the armed forces community. For many members of the BFRS team, D-Day is not just a historical event but a chapter in their own family histories.


The Dean Family


Take, for instance, Harry Dean, CEO of BFRS. Harry's father also Neil Deans paternal grandfather, George Dean is seen here at his depot in 1932 at the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment. George served in India between 1932 and 1938, then in Palestine where he was unfortunately wounded.


George Dean seen here at his regiment HQ in Bedfordshire.


George came back to UK before discharge in June 1939, although his discharge didn't last long. George was then called up in September 1939 and posted to Egypt with Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment. George went on to volunteer for 52 ME Commando, fought at the siege of Tobruk.


After D-Day George Dean was on the advance through France and Germany as Platoon Commander of a Flamethrower Platoon and was also part of the British 50th Infantry Division that landed on Gold Beach


George Dean seen here during training - sixth from front left


The Dean family have a proud and long history of serving in the Armed Forces on both sides of the family.

Neil Dean's maternal great grandfather, Alfred also served in the British Army. Alfred, died at the age of 53 in 1948, he served in served in both wars.


Alfred Senior pictured here in Uniform 

Alfred's son also named Alfred also went into the British Army and went onto to serve in India and Malaysia. Alfred is seen here in India in 1944 at the end of world war II.


  Alfred Junior pictured here in India C1944


The Flower Family


Similarly, Julie Flowers, a Business Development Officer with BFRS, shares the story of her grandfather, Major John Edward Flower . John was a Major in the British Army and played a vital role in disrupting enemy communications behind enemy lines.


Major John Edward Flower c1940


Julie often speaks of the pride her family feels for Johns contributions and how it shapes her dedication to supporting veterans through her role at BFRS in their post-service careers.

Below we see John's treasured letter of discharge from the military dated 28th September 1948.



The Tombling Family

We also see images of BFRS Marketing Lead Sonja Tombling's family celebrating the end of the war in London. Sonja's mother and father were sent away to Wales during the second world war as very young children and would often recount their experiences of their formative years.


Sonja's grandmother, mother and aunts and uncles c1945

Sonja's maternal uncle William Newman pictured below served in the Royal Navy for 15 years and went on to become a long serving Firefighter and Marathon runner before retiring. 

William Newman pictured far right

William Newman pictured  uniform in Jerusalem.



The Gibben Family


BFRS Event Co-Ordinator, Rob Gibbens also has a strong military family history. With his great grandfather "Bert" Whitehouse having served in the British Army during the first and second world wars.

Bert served as a member of the Royal Artillery.


Albert "Bert" Whitehouse in uniform


The Ryan Family


Dave Ryan, the BFRS Head of Engagement and also company training expert is another member of the team who has not only served himself in the British Army but followed in the footsteps of his grandfather George William Henry Hurst.

George served in the British Army's Royal Artillery and was very well respected in his regiment.


George Willian Henry Hurst Medals


Commemorative Events and BFRS Involvement


In the lead-up to D-Day80, the UK will host numerous events to honor the veterans of Normandy. These events include parades, memorial services, and educational programs designed to keep the history of D-Day alive for future generations.

One notable event is the D-Day80 Memorial Service in Portsmouth, where veterans, military personnel, and civilians will gather to pay their respects.


Honoring the Past, Supporting the Future


As we commemorate D-Day80, it is essential to honor the memory of those who fought and died for our freedom. The BFRS team, with its deep-rooted connections to this historic event, embodies the spirit of remembrance and gratitude. Their work not only supports today's veterans but also ensures that the legacy of D-Day is preserved and cherished for future generations.

As we take a look at this 1945 Demob video below from Pathe News, we note how much resettlement has changed over the years and also how much is still in many ways, the same.

At BFRS we aim to make a real change to your resettlement journey by offering the support the Armed Forces community needs to be able to move into a successful civilian career pathway.



Through their personal stories and professional dedication, the BFRS team reminds us that the sacrifices of the past continue to shape and inspire our present and future. As we remember D-Day, let us also recognize and support the ongoing contributions of our military community, honoring their service and ensuring their stories live on.