Veterans and officials gathered on Sunday (June 6) for the opening of the Ver-sur-Mer British Normandy Memorial on the anniversary of D-Day, the largest seaborne invasion in history, which helped bring World War Two to an end.
“To the British soldiers who landed in ‘Gold Beach’ and fought long weeks to free the French people from the Nazi yoke, to the women and men who fell during this trying battle for freedom, we pay homage,” French Defence Minister Florence Parly said. “France does not forget. France is forever grateful.”
British Ambassador to France Lord Edward Llewellyn later declared the memorial open, cutting a ribbon and laying down wreaths along with Parly.
“These are the men who enabled Liberty to regain her foothold on the European continent, on the 6th of June, 1944, and who, in the days and weeks that followed, lifted the shackles of tyranny, hedgerow by Normandy hedgerow, mile by bloody mile,” he told the veterans and officials gathered at the site of the monument.
According to its website, the memorial, located in Ver-sur-Mer in France, “records the names of the 22,442 servicemen and women under British command who fell on D-Day and during the Battle of Normandy in the summer of 1944.”
It includes a sculpture, wall with names of the those who died on D-Day, stone columns with names of people who died between D-Day and August 1944, as well as a French Memorial for French civilians who lost their lives.
In the early hours of June 6, 1944, more than 150,000 allied troops set off from Portsmouth and the surrounding area to begin the air, sea and land attack onNormandy that ultimately led to the liberation of western Europe from the Nazi regime.
The invasion, codenamed Operation Overlord and commanded by U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, remains the largest amphibious assault in history and involved almost 7,000 ships and landing craft along a 50-mile (80-km) stretch of the French coast.