D-Day 80: Silhouettes of soldiers gathered near Gold Beach

  • By Charlotte Andrews & PA Media
  • BBC news

Image caption, The figures look out over Gold Beach, where many British troops landed almost 80 years ago

Silhouettes of almost 1,500 soldiers who died on D-Day have been collected in a French museum.

To commemorate 80 years since the Normandy landings, the figures traveled from a workshop in Stanton Harcourt, Oxfordshire, to the British Normandy Museum.

The figures overlook Gold Beach, one of the main landing sites.

They were transported via Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire and Fort Nelson, near Fareham in Hampshire.

The 80th anniversary of D-Day falls on June 6.

Image caption, D-Day veteran Mervyn Kersh stands among the silhouettes of Standing with Giants at the For Your Tomorrow installation

A convoy of four trucks, accompanied by 200 Harley Davidson Remembrance Riders, traveled through southern England before stopping in Fort Nelson for a farewell event on April 5.

After crossing the English Channel, a team of thirty volunteers spent two weeks arranging the silhouettes in Normandy.

Image source, Standing with giants

Image caption, About 80 local groups helped put together the figures, which are made from recycled plates

In addition to the silhouettes representing staff from all three services, two bespoke figures have been created to represent nurses Sisters Evershed and Field, who died while rescuing 75 men from a hospital ship.

Project coordinator Janette Barton called the exhibition “emotional” and said she “had no words for it.”

“We came to the monument last night as the sun was setting and sat and watched the sun go down and our volunteers felt it was a meadow of souls.

“Visitors, both French and English, have said how incredible it is and that we should never forget this, and the younger generation, the children, are asking questions of their parents,” she added.

Image caption, The giant cutouts represent 1,475 soldiers and two women who died on D-Day

The installation is open to the public from April 21 to August 31.