A lone military piper has played on Gold Beach to mark the moment the first British troops stormed the Normandy coast on D-Day 80 years ago today.

Major Trevor Macey-Lillie played Highland Laddie as he was carried to the beach at Arromanches on a Royal Marines amphibious landing craft flanked by service members.

It took place at the exact moment the first troops waded ashore as part of the Normandy landings in the battle to retake Europe from the Nazis all those years ago, and harkens back to a lone piper who played during the event itself and was never shot at.

Crowds gathered at the beach to view the reenactment, which took place in a picturesque sunrise – a far cry from the cloudy and rough seas that welcomed 25,000 soldiers who landed on the same stretch of coast in 1944.

Among those present at Arromanches this morning is Reform UK leader Nigel Farage, who joined others in paying tribute to those who lost their lives during what was the biggest seaborne invasion in military history.

A military piper plays a lament as he is driven ashore on Gold Beach in an amphibious vehicle this morning

A military piper plays a lament as he is driven ashore on Gold Beach in an amphibious vehicle this morning

A giant poppy is displayed on the beach at Arromanches as people walk along the sand before today's commemorations

A giant poppy is displayed on the beach at Arromanches as people walk along the sand before today’s commemorations

People line up as the sun rises over Gold Beach this morning on the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings

Military reenactors travel along the beach at Arromanches in an amphibious landing craft this morning

Military reenactors travel along the beach at Arromanches in an amphibious landing craft this morning

A military reenactor looks out to sea as the sun rises on Gold Beach this morning ahead of a day of events to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day

A military reenactor looks out to sea as the sun rises on Gold Beach this morning ahead of a day of events to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day

Veteran Jack Mortimer becomes emotional while travelling to France from Britain on Tuesday, June 4, ahead of D-Day commemorations

Veteran Jack Mortimer becomes emotional while travelling to France from Britain on Tuesday, June 4, ahead of D-Day commemorations

Following the poignant remembrance on the beach, there will be commemorations in the French town including a veterans parade, as well as an air and firework display.

There have also been reenactments on other beaches which were targeted during D-Day, with a US congregation gathering on Utah Beach where thousands of American troops played their part in the Normandy landings.

In recent days veterans of the conflict, who are dwindling in number as the years pass, have travelled to France to take part in events commemorating the fallen.

There have been emotional scenes as those who are well enough to make the journey have gathered in Normandy in recent days.

Later today there will be further events commemorating the events of 80 years ago, with King Charles and Queen Camilla, along with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and French President Emmanuel Macron, all taking part.

They will be present at the British Normandy Memorial in Ver-sur-Mer, which pays tribute to 22,442 service personnel under British command who died on D-day and during the Battle of Normandy in the summer of 1944.

It will be the first major anniversary at the site, which opened in 2021, with Charles and Camilla officially opening the Winston Churchill Centre for Education and Learning following the commemorations today.

Meanwhile, Prince William will attend the Canadian commemorative event at the Juno Beach Centre, Courseulles-sur-Mer, before joining more than 25 heads of state and veterans for the official international ceremony on Omaha Beach, Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer.

Reform UK leader Nigel Farage was among those present at Gold Beach in Arromanche this morning

Reform UK leader Nigel Farage was among those present at Gold Beach in Arromanche this morning

A military reenactor kneels in the sand as they pay tribute to those who lost their lives on Gold Beach during the Normandy landings

A military reenactor kneels in the sand as they pay tribute to those who lost their lives on Gold Beach during the Normandy landings

A group of people stand looking out to sea as the sun rises over Arromanche 80 years to the day that thousands of British men stormed Gold Beach and the battle to retake Europe from the Nazis began

A group of people stand looking out to sea as the sun rises over Arromanche 80 years to the day that thousands of British men stormed Gold Beach and the battle to retake Europe from the Nazis began

The military piper was driven ashore in an amphibious vehicle after being ferried to the beach on a landing craft

The military piper was driven ashore in an amphibious vehicle after being ferried to the beach on a landing craft

Reform UK leader Nigel Farage stands with reenactors on Gold Beach this morning as people pay their respects to those who died during the D-Day landings

Reform UK leader Nigel Farage stands with reenactors on Gold Beach this morning as people pay their respects to those who died during the D-Day landings

A man rides a Second World War era motorcycle across Gold Beach in Arromanche this morning

A man rides a Second World War era motorcycle across Gold Beach in Arromanche this morning

An 80-strong flotilla of boats is set to cross the English Channel from Falmouth in Cornwall, where thousands of troops departed to take part in the invasion, while there will also be a beacon-lighting ceremony in Aylesford, Kent. 

Later today the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh will join veterans at a Royal British Legion remembrance service at The National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester will meet veterans at a show at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

The event, D-day 80: Remembering The Normandy Landings, will be hosted by Davina McCall and feature music from the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, as well as Lulu, Katherine Jenkins, Emeli Sande and D-day Darlings lead vocalist Katie Ashby.

The weather is expected to be ‘generally dry’ during the commemorations, the Met Office said.

Met Office forecaster Craig Snell said: ‘It’ll be pretty dry on either side of the channel.

‘It shouldn’t hamper any commemorations during the day.

‘It’ll be better weather compared to what they had then [in 1944]. Less windy and probably a bit brighter.’

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