First permanent memorial to British DDay heroes in Normandy gets go ahead

D-Day veteran George Batts MBE, 93 from Middlesex, who came up with the idea for the memorial, told The Telegraph: “It means everything to me. It was my dream to get it done. We left a lot of mates there and I am so proud.” Mr Witchell said: “This is the culmination of more than a year and a half’s work. We are delighted there will now be a single memorial in Normandy which brings together the names of all the British service people who died for our freedom.”The project is largely funded by a £20 million grant issued by Chancellor Philip Hammond from the government’s LIBOR fund.The Normandy Memorial Trust is still £7 million short of the total needed to fund the project and is asking for the public’s support the campaign at is the only nation involved in the allied invasion of France without a dedicated national memorial in Normandy.  George Batts pictured in May, 1944 Prince Charles, the project’s Royal Patron, has said a permanent and fitting memorial is “long-overdue”Credit:PA Prince Charles, the project’s Royal Patron, has said a permanent and fitting memorial is “long-overdue” The first permanent memorial to the British soldiers who sacrificed their lives on D-Day in Normandy has been approved by French authorities, The Telegraph can reveal.Work can now start at the site in Ver-sur-Mer just nine weeks before it hosts an event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day on June 6. Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron are expected to lay the foundation stone and unveil its centrepiece, three nine-foot figures of British infantry soldiers coming ashore.The project was delayed by protests from local residents who claimed it would destroy the view of the sea and the car park and coach loads of tourists would damage the environment.Maxi Krause, a retired university professor, lead a group of 50 people in a march around the 47-acre site in January this year saying the memorial was “monstrous” and “completely stupid.”The plans were approved on April 3 by the highest state official in the region, Laurent FISCUS, préfet du Calvados, after a public was launched following the complaints. George Batts pictured in May, 1944 Prince Charles, the project’s Royal Patron, has said a permanent and fitting memorial is “long-overdue” and will provide a place of “perpetual contemplation.”British veterans chose the memorial site which overlooks “Gold Beach”, the code name for one of the three beaches where British forces came ashore in the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944. An estimated 1,000 British troops died there.The Normandy Memorial Trust was set up in 2016 by BBC broadcaster Nicholas Witchell following a conversation with Mr Batts in July 2015. The UK’s Ambassador to France, Edward Llewellyn, said: “It is excellent news, especially for the veterans who have long campaigned for a fitting memorial to their comrades who sacrificed their lives to secure the liberty of this continent.”The British Normandy Memorial will honour the 22,442 troops under British command who died in the Normandy landings and the subsequent battle there which lasted until August 1944.Lord Peter Ricketts, Former UK Ambassador to France and Normandy Memorial Trust Chairman said: “The Importance of this project is that it symbolises the deep links between Britain and France.”There is all sorts of turbulence in the political relationship with Brexit but the memorial marks a deeper tie of the two peoples based on shared sacrifices in the past.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.


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