It took 77 years for Britain’s Normandy heroes to be honoured with a national memorial in the place where they fought, and where some died. But we can clearly say it was worth the wait.
The new British Memorial unveiled on the 6th June 2021 is spectacular and if you stay at our hotel Belle Isle sur Risle, you can easily visit it (1 hour 15 to get there) and combine it with the Caen Memorial or the American Cemetery.
22 442 British servicemen and women lost their lives in the D-Day landings and Battle of Normandy in 1944. And they finally have a beautiful place to be remembered. The 160 pillars of the Memorial have been engraved with the names of each one of them. A d-day wall also records the names of the soldiers who lost their lives on the day itself and the pillars have the names of those who were killed between 4th June and the Liberation of Paris in August 1944.
As you walk towards the memorial, you can read how the battle unfolded (the story is engraved in stones) and feel as if you are sharing the months, days with them. This becomes even more apparent when you get to the statue in the heart of the Memorial. The sculpture by David Williams-Ellis is truly magnificent and represents three soldiers in action. With the sea just behind, it feels like the soldiers have just emerged from Gold Beach and are progressing inland. You can feel their fear, you can feel their bravery and courage, you are with them. As you walk towards the main building, you can’t help but be overcome by emotion and feel moved.
The location of the Memorial in Ver sur Mer couldn’t have been chosen better. Set on 52 acre of land, the endless view over the sea and Gold Beach is breathtaking. It gives you the sense of the intensity of the battles and a sense of perspective….so many lost their lives for our freedom. It was about time that they were honoured.
The Memorial may have cost 33 million pounds but the story behind is beautiful too. The British veterans raised the money for several years, especially one inspiring man: Cornwall veteran Harry Billing, 95 years old. He collected money for the Memorial from a sport at Par Market in St Austell Cornwell for 3 years. Once a warrior always a warrior, brave and courageous!
But the best is still for you to go and visit it. The staff at the hotel Belle Isle sur Risle will certainly be able to tell you more about it. (it can be done on a day trip and combined with a visit to the D-day landing beaches and the artificial port of Arromanches) One thing is sure, you will not be disappointed and you will be able to discover the magic of the place.