Fury as Emmanuel Macron snubs key D-Day commemorations at Normandy beach where hundreds of Allied heroes died to save France

EMMANUEL Macron has sparked fury by snubbing a key event marking the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

The French head of state has confirmed that he will not be at the event on Thursday evening at Courseulles-sur-Mer, in Normandy.

This is despite it being in the centre of the Juno Beach sector, where troops from Britain and Canada were among those who stormed ashore.

The news comes as it was revealed a Brit soldier had tragically drowned after travelling to France to take part in the official commemorations.

Veterans in their 90s will be at the event, which for the 70th anniversary in 2014 was led by the then French President Francois Hollande, and attended by the Queen, Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel.

But this year Mr Macron will focus on events focusing on the French contribution to victory over the Nazis during the Second World War.

French MP Philippe Gossselin said in a letter to Mr Macron that there was "deep disappointment" and "real anger".

Mr Gosselin said that "given that Allied veterans aged between 95 and 100 will be present for the last time in all likelihood, the normal thing would have been for France to have honoured them through your presence."

What happened on Juno Beachduring the D-Day landings?

Juno was the second beach from the east among the five landing areas of the Normandy Invasion of World War II.

It was assaulted on June 6, 1944 by units of the Canadian 3rd Infantry Division and troops from Britain and Norway.

They took heavy casualties early on but by the end of the day wrestled control of the area from defending German troops.

However, the initial hazard for the Allied invaders was not the German obstacles but natural offshore reefs or shoals.

These forced the assault waves to land later on D-Day than desired so landing  craft could clear the reef on the rising tide.

As the mainly Canadian soldiers worked their way through the obstacles they took dreadful casualties.

Company B of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles was cut down to just one officer and 25 men as it moved to reach the seawall.

The Canadians suffered 1,200 casualties out of 21,400 troops who landed at Juno that day—a casualty ratio of one out of 18.

Clinching the beach was a turning point in World War II and led to the liberation of Europe and the defeat of Nazi Germany.

Mr Gosselin added that President Macron’s absence was "an affront to the veterans. I am ashamed of France."

Louis Mexandeau, a former Veterans Minister, said: "We had hoped that France would honour the sacrifice of tens of thousands of Allied soldiers in the appropriate manner."

And Jean-Vincent Brisset, of the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs, said the snub was an example of his ‘irresponsibility’ and lack of interest in projecting France on the international stage.

Genevieve Darrieussecq, France’s Armed Forces Minister, said Mr Macron would be attending other events, and that presidents and other heads of state had previously attended the event every ten years.

"I think it’s a question of planning, and it’s not that simple for the President to do everything, from a financial point of view," she said.

An Elysee Palace spokesman said Mr Macron would be travelling to England for D-Day commemorations in Portsmouth on Wednesday – June 5.

He will then spend D-Day, June 6, at other events in Normandy at Franco-British and Franco-American events also attended by dignitaries including Prime Minister Theresa and US President Donald Trump.

The spokesman said French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe would be in charge at Juno Beach.

The only world leaders confirmed as attending at Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister, and Charles Michel, his Belgian counterpart.

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