CWGC Ready to welcome veterans for D-Day 70
03 June 2014
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) is ready to
welcome thousands of veterans to its cemeteries in Normandy this
week, working with partners across government to mark the
70th anniversary of D-Day.
This follows the completion of a mammoth renovation programme
- including replacing more than 8,000 headstones that had
become worn due to climatic conditions.
CWGC cemeteries and memorials in Normandy, as well as
Portsmouth, will host commemorative events, both large and
small, as veterans and pilgrims make the journey to remember those
who died to liberate Europe in 1944.
CWGC Vice Chairman, Air Chief Marshal Sir Joe French, who will
officially represent the CWGC at a number of events across
Normandy, said: "Ensuing our cemeteries and memorials were ready
for the many pilgrims to Normandy was a big challenge but the work
was completed on time.
"It is an honour for us to help commemorate these historic
events and to welcome so many returning veterans and their families
to our sites.
"No doubt for many, their visit will be a highly emotional
experience, and that is to be expected, but for younger visitors to
our cemeteries, our new information panels, using the latest
smartphone technology, will help them gain a better
understanding of those historic events of 70 years ago, and to put
a human face to the names inscribed on more than 22,000 headstones
The panels at Bayeux, Ranville and Beny-sur-Mer War cemeteries
are among 500 to be installed at CWGC locations worldwide and
feature information about the site of the cemetery and a QR (Quick
Response) code. When scanned with a smartphone, the QR Code
provides access for further information including the personal
stories of some of the casualties buried or commemorated there.
Among the stories revealed on the panels in Normandy are those
of the youngest British paratrooper to die in the Second World War,
16 year old Private Robert Johns, who is buried at Ranville War
Cemetery. At Bayeux War Cemetery, visitors can access the story of
Welsh rugby and England cricket international, Major Maurice
Turnbull and at Beny-sur-Mer, the story of Squadron Leader Ronald
Weir, whose father wrote the English version of the Canadian
national anthem, 'O Canada'.
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