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Work starts to complete British Normandy Memorial with new visitor centre for D-Day 80

Artists impression of the new visitor centre in Normand
18 January 2024
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Work has begun on a visitor centre/museum to complement the new British Normandy Memorial.

The Winston Churchill Centre for Learning and Education will be used not merely by visitors to the impressive memorial complex at Ver-sur-Mer – close to what was designated Juno Beach during the 1944 landings – but also school children on educational visits as future generations learn about the sacrifices made.


The memorial itself, opened in 2021, was created to honour the 22,442 British and Commonwealth personnel killed during the Battle for Normandy (spanning June to the end of August 1944).


The new building will house two educational/exhibition galleries – entry will be free - which will be curated by the Royal British Legion and tell the story of both the invasion on June 6 and the subsequent fighting which culminated with the Allied breakout, the destruction of Nazi forces in northern France and the liberation of Paris.


In addition there will be a classroom facility for use by visiting pupils/students from all over the world, a shop selling official merchandise and a café.

Former infantryman, Normandy veteran and Memorial ambassador Ken Hay said the visitor centre was fundamental to the legacy of the men of 1944.


“For future generations to keep the memory of the 22,442 alive, they need to understand the story of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy – why it happened, who was involved, what they did – and why it must never be allowed to happen again.


“I talk to schools in England and in Normandy and to have 120 children paying attention to one’s every word speaks volumes for the teaching they have received and for those who shape modern education – far more meaningful than the Roman and Greek wars that were taught when I was a lad.”


A £600,000 donation from defence firm BAE Systems was the last piece of the financial jigsaw to fund the new centre, which is due to be opened on the 80th anniversary of D-Day in June.


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