UK

D-Day anniversary: New images of Normandy memorial released

The British Normandy Memorial under construction Image copyright Normandy Memorial Trust

World War II veterans whose D-Day anniversary trip to the new British Normandy Memorial was cancelled are being brought new footage of the site to mark the day.

More than 70 veterans, many in their mid-90s, were meant to make the trip for the 76th anniversary on Saturday.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Normandy Memorial Trust is showing them the latest construction work instead.

The memorial was meant to be officially opened on 4 September.

That ceremony will now take place in spring or early summer 2021 instead.

Lord Peter Ricketts, chairman of trustees at the Normandy Memorial Trust, said: "We at the trust know how much the veterans and their families were looking forward to visiting the site around the time of the D-Day anniversary to see the memorial taking shape.

"We share their frustration that the unprecedented circumstances of the pandemic have made that impossible. But the good news is that we are pressing on with real determination to complete the construction, despite all the obstacles.

"I pay tribute to the dedication of everyone involved in this."

Image copyright Normandy Memorial Trust
Image caption An artist's view of how the memorial will look

The new content showing the construction work is being released on the trust's website on Saturday.

"You will get a sense from these new pictures of how moving and impressive the memorial will be once it is finished in the autumn," added Lord Ricketts.

In the footage, people can watch letter carvers inscribing the words of Winston Churchill's speech, including the famous words "we shall fight on the beaches".

Image copyright Normandy Memorial Trust
Image copyright Normandy Memorial Trust

The stone columns of the memorial are engraved with the names of 22,442 men and women under British command who lost their lives in the D-Day landings and the Battle of Normandy.

There was a two-month pause in construction of the memorial due to the pandemic, but it has now restarted. Work has included the planting of hundreds of young trees, as well as 12 semi-mature oak trees at the memorial entrance.

The French memorial - recognising the sacrifice of Normandy's civilian population - has had its foundations installed and the first stone laid.

As the UK government is not providing funding for the maintenance of the memorial. the trust is also launching a support programme. The Normandy Memorial Guardian programme will see supporters recruited to look after the site in the years ahead.

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