Britons who died in D-Day landings to be remembered with monument
05 March 2017
Memorial to those who died in Normandy campaign to be erected at site of fighting, paid for by government and funds raised by charities
George Batts, former national secretary of the Normandy Veterans’ Association, said it had been a dream for many years for veterans to have a memorial.
The thousands of Britons who died in the D-Day landings are to be remembered with a new monument. The memorial to those who died in the Normandy campaign will be erected at the site of fierce fighting that occurred during and after the Allied landings in France in 1944 and will be unveiled on the 75th anniversary of D-Day in 2019.
It will bear the names of the estimated 21,000 members of the British armed forces and merchant navy, as well as those from other nations who fought alongside them, who lost their lives in the campaign.
The government is giving £20m towards the cost of the memorial and a fundraising appeal will be launched by the Normandy Memorial Trust, supported by the Royal British Legion, to add to the government contribution. The funding has been drawn from the fines levied on UK banks over the Libor interest rate-rigging scandal.
George Batts, the former national secretary of the Normandy Veterans’ Association, said: “It has been the dream of Normandy veterans for many years for there to be a British memorial in Normandy dedicated to all those from the British armed forces who lost their lives in the D-Day landings and in the Normandy campaign which followed. This generous commitment by Her Majesty’s government will finally enable us to realise this ambition in time for the 75th anniversary of D-Day in June 2019.”
The memorial will also pay tribute to several thousand sailors and airmen who were lost at sea and those who died from their wounds after being brought back to the UK. It is hoped that many of the remaining veterans, and the families of those who fought, will attend the unveiling ceremony, planned for 6 June 2019.
Prime minister Theresa May said the courage, sacrifice and selflessness of the British servicemen and women who gave their lives in the D-Day landings must never be forgotten. “Located close by the beaches where they began the liberation of Europe, the Normandy memorial will be a fitting tribute to them and a place where people can gather to reflect on their extraordinary achievements,” she said. “Its unveiling on the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in 2019 will provide a timely reminder that we should never take our freedom for granted.”
Philip Hammond, the chancellor, said: “This will be a fitting reminder of the ultimate sacrifice made by British men and women on D-Day for the freedoms we enjoy today. We have a duty to ensure their names will be remembered for generations to come. It is only right we support this project as we look forward to the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in 2019.”
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