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The National Memorial Arboretum is the centre of remembrance in the U.K. Here you find the Normandy Campaign Memorial, a permanent site of remembrance for the 156,000 troops who landed in northern France in 1944. The memorial was funded by The Spirit of Normandy Trust in conjunction with the Normandy Veterans’ Association.
The National Memorial Arboretum was the brainchild of Commander David Childs, who wished to establish a national focus for remem-brance. Amongst the 300 memorials in the Arboretum is the Normandy Campaign Memorial, measuring 9m long. Its design is based on the view the invasion troops had of the Normandy coastline on that fateful day in June 1944. The Normandy Campaign Memorial, was built in 2014 to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings,. This powerful symbol, made entirely of granite, represents the enormity of the task the Allies faced in invading Nazi-occupied France. A campaign that took the lives of more than 4,000 British, U.S. and Canadian soldiers on the first day of the battle. The memorial provides a permanent place of reflection for those who gave so much in ensuring the success of the operation. The invasion of Normandy established a foothold in France for the Allies and would eventually lead to an end of the war in Europe.
The memorial is located within the Arboretum, a site of around 150 acres. The Arboretum is home to 30,000 trees, a living and growing tribute that will forever acknowledge the personal sacrifices made by the Armed Forces and civil services of the United Kingdom. Officially opened to the public in May 2001, the trees and more than 300 dedi-cated memorials provide visitors with an opportunity to reflect and remember those sacrifices within a beautiful and peaceful environ-ment. The Ministry of Defence pays a significant grant-in-aid to allow for free entry to the Arboretum. The site is the focus for the Nation’s year-round Remembrance through the Royal British Legion.
Preparations for D-Day
D-Day is one of the most remembered campaigns of the Second World War. The operation involved troops from Britain, the United States, Canada and several other countries. On 6 June 1944 the Allied forces sailed across the English Channel to begin their campaign to gain victory against the German forces. Planning the invasion was an enormous undertaking.
Battle of Normandy
Fought between the iconic landings on 6 June 1944 and the liberation of Paris on 25 August, the Battle of Normandy is often overlooked. Yet this campaign decided the course of the war in Northwestern Europe. The losses were huge: more than 100.000 people were killed during the 80 days, 20.000 of them civilians.