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Official opening at the Arboretum of the British Normandy Memorial

101yr old WW2 veteran Fred Adamson, 1/4th Battalion, KOYLI attended an event at the National Arboretum in Staffordshire on 6th June 2021 to mark the official opening of the British Normandy Memorial in Ver-sur-Mer France 77 yrs after D-Day. Due to COVID restrictions veterans were unable to travel to Normandy but were able to watch the event live-streamed to the Arboretum alongside commemorations jointly taking place in Staffordshire. The British Normandy Memorial records the names of the 22,442 servicemen and women under British command who fell on D-Day and during the Battle of Normandy in the summer of 1944.

Fred was awarded the Legion d’honneur by the French Authorities in 2016 for his part in the liberation of France, it is their highest military and civilian award. Whilst at the event Rear-Admiral Luc Pages, Defence Attache to French Embassy official acknowledged those veterans present who had received the award but who’d not had it presented in person by a French official.

There were around 100 veterans in attendance at the Arboretum and whilst it would have been nice to have travelled to Normandy it was nevertheless a significant and poignant event and chance to meet other veterans.

Whilst there Fred placed a wreath at the 49th West Riding Divisional ‘Polar Bear’ memorial to fellow Conisbrough resident and KOYLI veteran Ronnie McGrath killed in Normandy age 17 in our minds. He is named on column 98 of the new memorial.

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