This section of our website explains how the Fellowship came to be formed, what our aims are and how we are organised.

History of the DDNF

The Fellowship was formed in 1968 to support an Appeal being run by Portsmouth Cathedral. The object of the Appeal was to raise funds to complete the unfinished nave of the Cathedral 'in commemoration of the liberation of Europe 1944-45.'

The Fellowship was honoured to have as its first member Field Marshal Montgomery, who commanded the Allies land forces on D-Day; and his son, Viscount Montgomery of Alamein CMG, CBE, was for many years the Patron of the DDNF.

Unfortunately the Cathedral Appeal ran into difficulties and the project was shelved. However, the DDNF remained in being, and in 1973 it was re-launched with a new structure and terms of reference. The main impetus for the re-launch came from the Reverend Ron Paterson MBE (1916-2009), who was the Fellowship's chairman 1973-85 and 1994-2006.

The Fellowship adopted the insignia of SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force) as its emblem, and the words ‘Honour All Men’ as its motto. In the lead up to D-Day General Eisenhower’s Supreme Headquarters were based at Southwick House, just to the north of Portsmouth, and for many years this was a regular meeting place for the DDNF. To read about the events of June 1944 at Southwick House and about the historic D-Day Wall Map preserved there, please click here.

Aims of the DDNF

The aims of the Fellowship are:

  • To foster understanding between all those who were involved in D-Day and the battle of Normandy, whether in the Services or as civilians, together with their families and anyone who is interested in the commemoration and study of these historic events.
  • To meet together from time to time for special events and social functions.
  • To create suitable memorials to D-Day and the battle of Normandy.

Organisation of the DDNF

At the head of the Fellowship is our President. The current President is Vice-Admiral Sir Geoffrey Dalton KCB. He succeeded the late Major-General Sir Philip Ward KCVO, CBE, LL, in 2002.

The Chairman of the DDNF is Stephen Brooks. His association with the Fellowship began in 1987 when he became Keeper of Military History at Portsmouth's D-Day Museum and Overlord Embroidery, a post he held until 2001. He became Chairman in 2006.

The DDNF is administered by a small Committee. It meets three times a year, principally to arrange the annual reunion and the newsletter, which is sent to members in January each year.

The Fellowship is based in the Portsmouth area, but it has members all over the country - and the world. It currently has Vice-Presidents representing Australia, Canada, France, South Africa and the United States. Since its foundation in 1968, some 3,000 men and women have joined the Fellowship.

Portsmouth Cathedral

Portsmouth Cathedral


The SHAEF Insignia

Montgomery's Personal Message for D-Day (click to enlarge).