D-Day memorial to remember fallen servicemen

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D-Day veteran George Batts: "It was horrific, it was frightening"

Britons killed in the D-Day landings are to be remembered at a memorial part-funded by a £20m government grant.

The memorial for those who died in the Normandy campaign will be unveiled in the French region on the 75th anniversary of D-Day in 2019.

It will have the names of the thousands of members of the British armed forces and Merchant Navy who died, as well as those from other nations.

The government's contribution comes from Libor fines levied on banks.

D-Day took place on 6 June 1944 and began the liberation of German-occupied north-western Europe.

George Batts, former national secretary of the Normandy Veterans' Association, was 18 when he took part in the assault.

He said having a British memorial had been "the dream of Normandy veterans for many years".

He told BBC Breakfast: "All we who came back have lived our lives. But our friends and colleagues we left behind have had nothing.

"On each of the three British beaches, roughly 1,200 were killed, so you can imagine the sights that it was on those beaches.

"I don't like talking about it because it's not fair, to my mind, on their dependants. But it was horrific, it was frightening. But at the same time, all we young lads of 18, we virtually grew up overnight and it did set us up for our lives."

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
D-Day was the largest naval, air and land operation in history

A fundraising appeal will now be launched by the Normandy Memorial Trust, supported by the Royal British Legion, to add to the government's contribution.

The memorial will 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 for treatment.

The United States and Canada both have D-Day memorials.

It is hoped many of the remaining UK veterans, and the families of those who fought, will attend the unveiling ceremony planned for 6 June 2019.

Prime Minister Theresa May said the memorial would be a "fitting tribute" which would "provide a timely reminder that we should never take our freedom for granted".

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