The men who won the D-day

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

D-DAY RE­VIS­ITED, the Nor­mandy vet­er­ans’ char­ity, is crowd­fund­ing to mark the 75th an­niver­sary of the June 6, 1944, D-day land­ings—the world’s largest seaborne in­va­sion —with a com­mem­o­ra­tive gar­den at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show (May 21–25). As both legacy and trib­ute, it is the dear­est wish of those sur­viv­ing that the gar­den be then per­ma­nently in­stalled at the Bri­tish Nor­mandy Memo­rial at Ver-sur-mer, France.

De­signed by RHS gold-medal-win­ner John Everiss of Lan­cashire, the en­trance to the D-day 75 Gar­den will be flanked by two life­size sculp­tures of Bill Pen­dell of Ox­ford­shire, who landed on Gold Beach as a despatch rider in the Royal Sig­nals, 11th Ar­moured Divi­sion. In 1945, he was awarded the Mil­i­tary Medal for brav­ery in com­bat and, in 2016, he re­ceived the Lé­gion d’hon­neur. Sadly, he died last month, aged 97. The first sculp­ture, by Thomas Dag­nell, will fea­ture Pen­dell in his beret and medals look­ing across at his 22-year-old self, de­picted in metal by Mr Everiss, poised to rush out of the wa­ter up the beach­head (above). Fif­teen fur­ther plinths will con­jure up the ex­pe­ri­ences of dif­fer­ent vet­er­ans, sur­rounded by 10,000 Arme­ria mar­itima or sea thrift (be­low), unas­sum­ing pink wild­flow­ers that once fea­tured on three­pence coins —troops would have seen them both as they em­barked at Portsmouth and in­land of the Nor­mandy beaches.

This year’s an­niver­sary is ‘the fi­nal op­por­tu­nity for the pub­lic to come to­gether and com­mem­o­rate D-day along­side men and women who ex­pe­ri­enced it first hand,’ ex­plains Vic­to­ria Phipps of D-day Re­vis­ited. ‘We hope it will cre­ate plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties for our Sec­ond World War gen­er­a­tion to share their in­cred­i­ble sto­ries.’ Visit www.d-dayre­vis­ited. co.uk for fur­ther in­for­ma­tion; £250,000 is needed for the gar­den’s cre­ation—visit www. go­fundme.com/dday-75-gar­den to donate.

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