A sailor from Helston played a pivotal role in the commemorations of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings on Friday.

Able Seaman James Mitchell, 29, was part of the ceremonial guard that was on parade in front of the Princess Royal in Southsea, Portsmouth.

In front of thousands of people who travelled from across the UK to the seaside city for the UK’s 70th anniversary commemorations of D-Day, he marched with 144 members of all three services as well as representatives from the Canadian and French Navies and 48 cadets for inspection at the Drumhead Ceremony.

Princess Anne took the salute at the dais after her inspection, which was then followed by music from the 42-strong band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines, Portsmouth, readings, hymns and prayers.

Most importantly, many of the remaining veterans who fought so valiantly during the Second World War were there to pay respect to the thousands of colleagues who lost their lives during the conflict.

James, who is an aircraft mechanic at RNAS Culdrose, looks after the Merlin helicopters from 824 squadron. He said: “It is at these times I feel compelled to remember the sacrifice for those who took part in the landings and inevitably the victory that took place.”

The D-Day landings on June 6, 1944 involved a combined force of British, Canadian, American and French forces, which involved hundreds of units from the Royal Navy.

Around 132,000 Royal Marines and Allied soldiers were transported by ships and injected onto the beaches off Normandy by landing craft and sea boat with 23, 400 arriving by air.

However, that was at a cost of around 4,300 British and Commonwealth casualties listed as dead, wounded or missing.

James lives with his wife and two young children in Helston. He joined the Royal Navy in 2004 and has served in Afghanistan and on the aircraft carriers Ark Royal and Illustrious in his career to date.

He added: “It is an honour and I am proud to be part of the parade for the commemorations of the 70th anniversary of Op Overlord.”