As a national daily newspaper, we concentrate our efforts on current affairs and news, whether at home or abroad. But occasionally, historical events also grace our pages – this week we have one that happened 69 years ago.
In 1944, 156,000 troops, including 61,000 British soldiers, stormed Normandy beaches in some of the most pivotal battles of the Second World War. To mark the moment, 80 veterans of the Normandy landings gathered yesterday in Bayeux, northern France, to remember those who lost their lives (see page 4).
As time ticks by the number of those veterans, many of whom are over the age of 90, is dwindling – the Normandy Veterans’ Association (NVA) now numbers fewer than 600. The days of small boys and girls being regaled with tales from the War while sitting on their grandparents’ knees are numbered, and as those survivors of the battles in northern France pass away, so do their memories.
Now, a new battle has begun – to preserve the memories of those who were there before they are lost. The NVA is trying to prevent the errors made with First World War veterans, when no systematic attempt was made to record their experiences until too few of them remained. But, like all things nowadays, the scheme, which i is supporting, doesn’t come cheap. It needs to raise £50,000 in order to succeed.
It is not everyone’s priority, and many will feel they already contribute in other ways. But if you want to donate, or missed the article and want to find out more, please visit http://ind.pn/15OfY2x and show your support. It won’t be forgotten.