More than a hundred people gathered for an anniversary service held in honour of the aircraft that took off from RAF Harwell 80 years ago.

Crowds gathered at the Harwell Campus on Wednesday, June 5 as part of the D-Day 80th anniversary events being held this week.

The event, hosted by the Harwell branch of the Royal British Legion, took place at the Memorial Stone which stands at the end of the main runway of the former airbase from which aircraft took off carrying troops and towing gliders.

The aircraft took off carrying troops and towing glider on the eve of D-Day as part of ‘Operation Overlord’ to secure safe passage for those who followed.

Groups brought picnic baskets and chairs for a “proms in the park” style dedication to D-Day.

The evening consisted of a retelling of the events by D-Day Historian Steve Wright,  performances from the 1460 Banbury Squadron and a two-minute silence alongside the laying of a single wreath.

There were also readings from Royal British Legion county president David Drew and Deputy Lieutenants Jim Sibbald and Dr Dennis Blease.

The event took place the day prior to  Rishi Sunak leaving a D-Day 80th anniversary event in Normandy to record a General Election campaign TV interview.

The Prime Minister has since apologised for his decision to leave Normandy before a major international ceremony to mark the anniversary of the Allied landings but urged people not to politicise the event.

He admitted that “on reflection” he should have stayed for the event where world leaders including US President Joe Biden marked the sacrifice made by troops landing on the Normandy beaches in 1944.

The Prime Minister left France to record an ITV General Election interview which will air next week.

Mr Sunak issued an apology over social media and repeated it in an exchange with broadcasters during a General Election campaign event in Wiltshire.

He suggested it had always been his intention to leave before the international ceremony on Omaha Beach, even before he called the General Election.

“I’m someone who will always admit when I’ve made a mistake,” he said.

“I stuck to the itinerary that had been set for me as Prime Minister weeks ago, before the election,” he told broadcasters.

Mr Sunak said that having participated in “all the British events with British veterans I returned home before the international leaders’ event later in the day”.

He said: “On reflection, that was a mistake. And I apologise. I think it’s important though, given the enormity of the sacrifice made, the focus should rightly be on the veterans who gave so much.”

The broadcaster said the timing of the interview was suggested by the Conservative Party.