D-Day

D-Day: British Normandy Memorial To Be Unveiled On 77th Anniversary

The Allied invasion of Normandy, known as D-Day, took place on 6 June 1944, and was the largest amphibious assault ever launched.

The British Normandy Memorial will be unveiled tomorrow, on the 77th anniversary of D-Day.

The Allied invasion of Normandy, known as D-Day, took place on 6 June 1944, and was the largest amphibious assault ever launched.

The 50-acre memorial site is constructed on a hillside 700 meters from 'Gold Beach', the code name for one of the five areas of the Allied invasion of German-occupied France in the Normandy landings.

Its location was selected by Normandy veterans who were involved with the creation of the memorial during a consultation process along with relatives of the fallen. 

The remains of the Mont Fleury Battery, a German artillery bunker, borders the site to the east.

Capturing the bunker won the only Victoria Cross of D-Day.

The memorial, set within landscaped gardens, has a view over the British landing areas including the coast off Arromanches and the remains of Mulberry Harbour.

The youngest servicemen to be included on the memorial are 16 while the oldest is 64 (Picture: britishnormandymemorial.org).

One hundred and sixty pillars are inscribed, in chronological order, with the names of 22,442 servicemen and women who lost their lives on D-Day and during the Battle of Normandy.

The youngest servicemen to be included on the memorial are 16 years old while the oldest is 64.

About 3,700 tonnes of stone was used to build the memorial.

The site also includes a French Memorial and cloister gardens display a Union Flag design.

The official opening will include a video message from the Prince of Wales and a ribbon-cutting by the British Ambassador to France, Lord Llewellyn, as well as the first wreath-laying.

As veterans and relatives of the fallen are unable to travel to Normandy because of COVID-19 restrictions, the Royal British Legion and the Normandy Memorial Trust will host this year's D-Day commemorations at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

About 100 D-Day and Normandy veterans will be present at the Arboretum to watch the live coverage from Ver-sur-Mer.

Cloister gardens on the site display a Union Flag design (Picture: britishnormandymemorial.org).

The entire event, including coverage of the Royal British Legion's service of Remembrance at The Bayeux Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery, will be live-streamed on the British Normandy Memorial and Royal British Legion websites and Facebook pages from 10:00 BST.

More than 80,000 British and Canadian troops took part in the invasion on the beaches alongside United States forces on 6 June 1944, in an Allied invasion force of nearly 160,000.

Another 23,400 British troops landed by air.

Supporting the invasion were more than 7,000 ships off the coast and 11,000 aircraft.

Cover image: D-Day sculpture by David Williams Ellis at the British Normandy Memorial site (Picture britishnormandymemorial.org).