Grand unveiling for D-Day memorial: Tribute on Gold Beach to the 22,442 fallen British troops will open next month after £30m campaign

  • Memorial to fallen British servicemen and women will be opened next month
  • Normandy Memorial will overlook Gold Beach in France, and will open on D-Day 
  • Hundreds of veterans will be able to watch live coverage of opening ceremony

A spectacular memorial to 22,442 fallen British servicemen and women will be opened next month on D-Day, it was announced yesterday.

The Normandy Memorial – which was built following a Daily Mail campaign – will overlook Gold Beach, where British troops stormed ashore on June 6, 1944.

Hundreds of Normandy veterans, their families and relatives of the fallen will be able to watch live coverage of the opening ceremony from the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

Covid restrictions mean attendance will be limited and those wishing to attend must register for a place with the Normandy Memorial Trust by May 21. 

The Normandy Memorial will overlook Gold Beach, where British troops stormed ashore on June 6, 1944

The monument has cost almost £30million and was built after a long-running veterans’ campaign

The monument at Ver-sur-Mer in France has cost almost £30million and was built after a long-running veterans’ campaign was joined by the Mail and its generous readers, leading to a major grant from the Government’s Libor fund.

The 52-acre site was inaugurated in 2019, when then prime minister Theresa May and French president Emmanuel Macron unveiled a bronze sculpture that forms the centrepiece of the new memorial.

Since then craftsmen and women have erected 160 stone pillars engraved with the names of the 22,442 British servicemen and women who gave their lives in the D-Day landings and Battle of Normandy in 1944.

A D-Day Wall records the names of those who fell on the day itself, while the pillars memorialise those killed between June 6 and the Liberation of Paris in August 1944, including aircrew and nurses who died on board sinking hospital ships. 

The site also includes a memorial to the estimated 20,000 French civilians who lost their lives in the liberation. 

Britain was the only allied country involved in the landings which did not have its own national memorial on French soil.

Ex-Royal Engineer George Batts, the veteran patron of the Normandy Memorial Trust, said: ‘Only those who were there on D-Day can truly know what it was like. We lost a lot of our mates on those beaches. 

‘Now, at long last, Britain has a fitting memorial to them.’

Workers have erected 160 stone pillars engraved with the names of the 22,442 British servicemen and women who gave their lives in the D-Day landings and Battle of Normandy 

The pillars at the memorial site pay tribute to those killed between June 6 and the Liberation of Paris in August 1944

The site also includes a memorial to the estimated 20,000 French civilians who lost their lives in the liberation

Bob Gamble, of the Royal British Legion, said: ‘We understand how much it means to the veterans and their families to be in Normandy for these commemorations.

 However, we are also conscious that there is still great uncertainty surrounding international travel.

‘We invite veterans who intended to travel to Normandy to join us on June 6 as we reflect on a day that changed the course of history, and celebrate the peace and freedom won by all who took part.’

Normandy veterans will be able to watch live coverage of the opening ceremony from the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire (pictured)

The D-Day commemoration at the arboretum will show live coverage of the opening ceremony from the memorial site. It will be presided over by Britain’s ambassador to France, Lord Llewellyn, accompanied by senior French dignitaries.

The Royal British Legion’s Service of Remembrance at the Commonwealth war graves cemetery at Bayeux will also be screened.

For those hoping to attend, more information is available at www.britishnormandymemorial.org

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