18 March 2019
Finally, plans are in place for a memorial to British troops who died on the beaches of Normandy.
That’s something that the Normandy Memorial Trust is seeking to redress, by raising funds for a memorial in France, above Gold Beach. The campaign was launched at the National Army Museum in London in February this year. Now, over 50 acres of land have been acquired for the commemorative site. It will be inaugurated by the Prime Minister and the French president on the 75th anniversary of D-Day itself. However, a further £7.5million in donations is still needed to complete the project.
Speaking at the launch of the Normandy Memorial Trust appeal in Paris, French politicians pledged their full support for the project, which also has the backing of veterans, the Prince of Wales, and the British Government. French local authorities have promised to smooth over the notoriously bureaucratic planning regulations. "This is not just an administrative matter but our duty of memory and we are at your side," said Laurent Fiscus, the prefect of Calvados, which is in the area of Normandy where the memorial will be built. He was speaking at a reception at the British embassy in Paris where the latest designs for the site have been unveiled.
The memorial will overlook Gold Beach where British troops stormed ashore on the morning of June 6, 1944, D-Day, to begin the liberation of France and Europe. Thanks to Hollywood, the overwhelming impression is that D-day was dominated by US forces, whereas in reality, British troops landed at Gold and Sword, Canadians took Juno and the US landed at Omaha and Utah. Of all the major Allied nations involved in the landings, however, Britain is the only one without a national memorial to its dead.
You can contribute to the trust at www.normandymemorialtrust.org/the-memorial/
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