Charles speaks of “remarkable people” at the opening of the British Normandy Memorial
The Prince of Wales spoke of the importance of preserving the memory of the more than 22,000 “remarkable people” commemorated at the British Normandy Memorial.
The Memorial, designed by British architect Liam O’Connor, records the names of 22,442 British servicemen and women who fell on D-Day and the Battle of Normandy.
On the 77th anniversary of the D-Day landings, the Ver-sur-Mer Memorial was officially opened, while veterans unable to travel to Normandy due to Covid-19 travel restrictions could watch from the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.
Charles, head of the Normandy Memorial Trust, said he had wanted to visit France and expressed his pride in having inaugurated the “remarkable” memorial.
In a video message, he said: “I especially wanted to direct my opening remarks directly to those whose presence today, in person or online, really matters most.
“I know how much our incomparable veterans hoped to be in Normandy today to see their Memorial for themselves.
“Despite having to watch via satellite, this in no way obscures the enormous esteem and admiration in which we hold our veterans or lessens our debt of gratitude to the more than 22,000 men and women whose names are now permanently etched in stone, this place of honor above Gold Beach.
The memorial, which cost nearly £ 30million and was funded by the British government and private benefactors, stands on a hill overlooking Gold Beach, one of three where British forces landed on the morning of 6 June 1944 to begin the liberation of Western Europe.
The memorial features the D-Day sculpture by British sculptor David Williams-Ellis, the D-Day wall with the names of those who fell on D-Day itself and, on 160 stone columns, the names of those who lost life between D-Day and the Liberation of Paris at the end of August 1944.
The site also includes a French memorial dedicated to the memory of French civilians who died during the period.
Charles added: “As I said when I first learned about the plans for this long-awaited British memorial, it has been of concern to me for many years that the memory of these remarkable people will be preserved for generations. future as an example of courage and sacrifice, for the benefit of the national community and, indeed, the international community at large.
“God bless our veterans, families and all who made the ultimate sacrifice as a result of operations around D-Day and during the Battle of Normandy.”