The British servicemen and women who gave their lives in the D-Day landings and in the Normandy Campaign will be commemorated with a new memorial, supported by £20 million, the Prime Minister and Chancellor today announced.
The monument will be built at the site of the fierce fighting during and after D-Day. For the first time, a memorial will carry the names of the estimated 21,000 members of the British Armed Forces and Merchant Navy, plus those from other nations who fought directly alongside them, who lost their lives in the D-Day landings and the Normandy campaign.
As well as commemorating those who died in Normandy, the memorial will also 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 memorial will be unveiled in Normandy on 6th June 2019 – the 75th anniversary of D-Day – and many of the remaining veterans, and the families of those who fought, are expected to be present for a parade at the D-Day landing grounds.
The Normandy Memorial Trust, supported by The Royal British Legion, has been the driving force behind the project and will now launch a fundraising appeal to build on the government’s contribution.
The £20 million government funding will come from LIBOR fines levied on the banking industry.
The Chancellor is planning to meet many of the Veterans on the eve of their departure at Southwick Park, outside Portsmouth, in June before they return to the Normandy Beaches to pay their respects to those who did not return home. Southwick Park is home to the historic D-Day Map Room and was the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force, from where the operation was planned and coordinated by General Montgomery and General Eisenhower.
The design and location of the memorial will be confirmed in due course by the Trust.
George Batts MBE, Legion d’Honneur, former National Secretary of the Normandy Veterans’ Association said:
It has been the dream of Normandy Veterans for many years for there to be a British memorial in Normandy dedicated to all those from the British Armed Forces who lost their lives in the D-Day Landings and in the Normandy Campaign which followed. This generous commitment by Her Majesty’s government will finally enable us to realise this ambition in time for the 75th anniversary of D-Day in June 2019.
Prime Minister Theresa May said:
We must never forget the courage, sacrifice and selflessness of the British servicemen and women who gave their lives in the D-Day landings. Located close by the beaches where they began the liberation of Europe, the Normandy Memorial will be a fitting tribute to them and a place where people can gather to reflect on their extraordinary achievements. Its unveiling on the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in 2019 will provide a timely reminder that we should never take our freedom for granted.
Chancellor Philip Hammond said:
This will be a fitting reminder of the ultimate sacrifice made by British men and women on D-Day for the freedoms we enjoy today. We have a duty to ensure their names will be remembered for generations to come. It is only right we support this project as we look forward to the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in 2019.