UK

Defence Minister Meets D-Day Veterans At Chelsea Flower Show

Tobias Ellwood was shown around the D-Day 75 Garden by a group of Normandy veterans.

The Veterans Minister has paid a visit to the Chelsea Flower Show to meet D-Day veterans and serving personnel.

Tobias Ellwood was shown around the D-Day Revisited garden by a group of Normandy veterans and personnel who helped build the garden in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

The garden, coinciding with D-Day 75 commemorations, features sculptures representing the troops who fought during the landings.

These striking figures made from metal washers show the young soldiers as they waded ashore.

One of them is based on real-life veteran Bill Pendell who stares out at his 97-year-old-self cast in stone.

"The beach is absolutely perfect and Bill’s looking at himself as a young person and the waves look absolutely natural," said D-Day veteran Bob Laverty, who was at the event.

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Also enthused by the Garden were serving personnel led by Sergeant Stephen Seed who helped to plant the flowers and lay the stones.

Speaking about the creator of the garden, Sergeant Seed said: "He went and spoke to veterans and asked them how they wanted him to portray the fear.

"The fear stepping onto the water, seasick, full of fear still had to get off the landing craft they wanted that portraying and think that’s exceptional."

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The sculptures represent D-Day veterans.

Everything about the design has been carefully thought about.

The garden is planted with Sea Thrift, a flower which grows on both sides of the Channel.

There are 10,000 of these plants to represent the 10,000 Allied troops who died during the first 24 hours of the D-Day campaign.

At the end of the flower show, the Garden will be carefully removed and reinstalled above the beach at Arromanches as a permanent gift from the veterans to the French village.

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The veterans asked the artist to portray the fear they had on D-Day.