Friday 26 April 2024

Three Battle of Normandy veterans will mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day by providing a history lesson like no other for a group of pupils.  

The three veterans and Memorial Ambassadors, Stan Ford, Ken Hay and Mervyn Kersh, all in their late nineties, will talk to fifteen young people aged between 10 and 14, reliving D-Day and taking questions from the audience.

Their hope is that the story of the Normandy Campaign and the memory of those who never came home can live on for generations to come.

The pupils will receive a D-Day 80 Teacher Resource pack, commissioned by the Normandy Memorial Trust and developed in partnership with the British Council and GCHQ.

The pack provides pupils with the opportunity to read authentic letters and documents, carry out research, and practise their language and reading skills that were so important for secret intelligence gathering and breaking wartime codes.

Young people from two London schools, Kingsford Community School and Parkwood Primary School will have the chance to put questions to the Veterans and hear their first-hand accounts from almost 80 years ago.

'Meet the Veterans' takes place on Friday 26 April. The event has been organised by British Normandy Memorial and the British Council. The D-Day 80 Teacher Resource Pack is available digitally in the UK and around the world. This event has been made possible thanks to a press event for Veterans organised by Spirit of Normandy Trust and The Normandy Memorial Trust.

General The Lord Richard Dannatt, Chairman of Trustees, Normandy Memorial Trust said: “As we approach the 80th anniversary of D-Day, the Trust is focussed on ensuring the legacy of this country's Normandy Veterans and those who never came home is honoured. Education is so important. We are proud to have collaborated with British Council and GCHQ on creating this education pack, telling the story of the Normandy Campaign through personal stories of those men and women whose names are engraved on the columns of the Memorial.”

Vicky Gough, Schools Advisor, British Council said: “It is important that the stories of these veterans and of D-Day itself live on for generations to come. We are delighted to have been involved in the development of the D-Day 80 Teacher Resource pack and to share it with schools in the UK and France as part of our suite of classroom resources. We hope that it will inspire schools to work with partner schools to explore what happened on D-Day and generate interest in both the subject matter and in learning and language skills.”

Notes to Editor

The education pack can be viewed here:

The British Normandy Memorial

The British Normandy Memorial stands on a hillside in Ver-sur-Mer above Gold Beach in Normandy, a place where history was shaped. On the columns of the Memorial the names of 22,442 servicemen and women from 38 nationalities who lost their lives on D-Day and during the Battle of Normandy are inscribed. The site of the Memorial was selected by Normandy Veterans during a consultation process in April 2017. It was formally opened on 6 June 2021 by the then Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, as Royal Patron of the Normandy Memorial Trust.  

The second phase of the Memorial project, the creation of The Winston Churchill Centre for Education and Learning is underway and will officially open on 6 June 2024.

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About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We support peace and prosperity by building connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and countries worldwide. We do this through our work in arts and culture, education and the English language.  We work with people in over 200 countries and territories and are on the ground in more than 100 countries. In 2022-23 we reached 600 million people.

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