MEMBERS of the Wiltshire Branch of the Normandy Veterans Association (NVA) have finally landed a memorial to be proud of.
A plaque inscribed “In memory of all who took part in the Normandy landings of 1944” is to be erected by the north door of Salisbury Cathedral commemorating those who took part in Operation Overlord in 1944.
The plaque will be presented at a ceremony during evensong at the cathedral on Sunday, which will be attended by more than 100 people including the Mayor of Salisbury along with national and local representatives of the NVA who took part in the campaign.
The veterans are very proud to have a memorial for an event in history that they feel is in the magnitude of the Battle of Trafalgar, for which there is a national day.
Brigadier David Baines, President of the Wiltshire NVA, said: “This is a fitting memorial to all who took part in the campaign that led to the freedom in Europe we enjoy today.
“It will be a permanent reminder of the magnitude of the undertaking and the debt we owe to those who died in the conflict.”
The project was commissioned last year to mark the 65th anniversary of the Normandy landings and the money was raised by the veterans, most of whom are more than 80 years old, who stood for hours outside supermarkets with their collection buckets.
Richard Palusinski, secretary of the Wiltshire NVA, added: “We have the freedom to do this, something there wouldn’t have been if it wasn’t for these men.
“Considering the majority of the veterans are 80 plus and they stood outside the supermarkets shows how strongly they felt. What made it real was working with the veterans, seeing their tears as they remembered the friends they had lost.”