Normandy veterans’ flag in St Albans museum display to mark D-Day
- Credit: Photo supplied
A Normandy veterans’ standard is on display at a museum in St Albans to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings during the Second World War.
On June 6, 1944, thousands of Allied troops landed in Normandy, France, marking the start of the invasion of German-occupied Europe.
Today, Friday, people have been marking 70 years since those landings.
As part of commemorations across the UK the Museum of St Albans, Hatfield Road, is displaying the standard of the St Albans branch of the Normandy Veterans’ Association until the end of June. Of the 61,000 British soldiers who stormed the beaches of Normandy 70 years ago, fewer than 500 are still alive.
The Normandy Veterans’ Association was established to bring together men who fought during the Normandy invasion.
The St Albans branch has been involved in many commemoration events over the past 30 years and has taken its standard to official occasions since 1985.
Last year the group retired from taking part in public ceremonies of commemoration and the group’s standard bearer, Harry Hopkins, kindly passed the standard to the museum.
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Mr Hopkins said: “It was a great honour to carry the standard for the St Albans branch for a period more than 25 years. I took the standard to commemoration ceremonies throughout Europe, from the time of its inauguration in 1985 to when it was handed to the museum last year.”
The standard is being displayed alongside audio recordings of some members of the Normandy Veterans’ Association describing their experiences of the invasion.
One of the men who contributed to the recordings was Ernie Brewer, secretary of the St Albans branch, who sadly died last month.
Mr Brewer was one of just ten British soldiers to be awarded the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest order, in 2009 for his part in the Normandy landings.
Cllr Mike Wakely, St Albans district council’s portfolio holder for heritage, said: “Many soldiers died during the landings which led to the defeat of the German forces in France and helped bring the war to an end in 1945.
“It is important that the soldiers who took part in this significant event in history are remembered.
“We owe so much to these soldiers.”