The High Sheriff of Staffordshire

The High Sheriff of Staffordshire

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Ceremony at the National Memorial Arboretum to mark the unveiling of the new British D-Day Memorial in France

On the 77th Anniversary of D-Day, a new British Memorial to the D-Day Landings was unveiled at Ver-sur-Mer, above the Normandy beaches. Because travel to France was impossible at the time, the occasion was marked at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, with live video links to events in France.
It was a remarkable day with senior armed services representatives and many of the surviving veterans proudly in attendance despite the rain. I was especially touched to see the lines of London black cabs, who traditionally volunteer to take veterans to Normandy, turn north to Staffordshire instead to ensure the veterans could still attend.
On a personal note I was delighted to meet Madame Arlette Gondree, the daughter of the Landlady of the Cafe Gondree, Pegasus Bridge, the first French home liberated as part of the D-Day actions. She remembered my father’s sister, Mary Crofton, who, serving with the Military Police, was one of the first women into Normandy and, as a veteran went frequently to the Cafe as part of numerous anniversary celebrations.