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Canada's War Dead to be Honoured at Normandy
Posted on May 21, 2020
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The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) is helping those who cannot make the annual pilgrimage to Normandy to pay tribute to the Second World War dead. Every year veterans and relatives return to CWGC’s cemeteries in France to remember those killed on D-Day and the pivotal battles of 1944. In today’s unique circumstances tributes will instead be laid by our gardeners on behalf of those who cannot travel.

The CWGC has offered to personally lay tributes at graves and memorials in Normandy on behalf of relatives and veterans who cannot travel. CWGC’s local gardeners will place markers bearing the words ‘Their Name Liveth For Evermore’ in time for the 76th anniversary of D-Day on 6 June 2020. It comes as the public are encouraged to #ShareYourTribute online and remember the wartime generations despite major commemorations this summer being cancelled or hosted virtually.

Remembering Normandy is an opportunity to have a special marker placed at the grave or memorial of a relative killed in the fighting there. The tributes bear the famous inscription ‘Their Name Liveth For Evermore’ chosen by the Commission’s first literary advisor, Rudyard Kipling, and inscribed at CWGC sites the world over. Requests can be easily submitted online, alongside a message to be displayed on CWGC’s digital Wall of Remembrance.

Since social distancing and travel restrictions were brought in place, it has not been possible for most people to visit CWGC’s war cemeteries and memorials abroad. However, more than a thousand digital tributes have already been shared with us online since then, showing that even when times are hard today, we can still remember the sacrifices of yesterday.

Xavier Puppinck, CWGC’s France area director, said: “When we welcomed thousands of veterans and visitors to Normandy for the 75th anniversary of D-Day we couldn’t have imagined how different things would be just one year later. While it is sad that we cannot host any large gatherings this summer to pay respect in person, we can still pause and remember.”

“We want our Commonwealth communities to keep alive those D-Day memories and #ShareYourTribute to our digital wall of remembrance. As an extra gesture this summer we will also be laying tributes on behalf of those wishing to remember someone at one of CWGC’s main sites in Normandy. We hope this small act from our local CWGC staff will show that, together, we can remember those who died in the World Wars forever.”

To post a message to the digital wall of remembrance or request a tribute be placed in Normandy, visit: www.cwgc.org/share-your-tribute.

On 6 June 1944, the Allies launched the largest ever seaborne invasion on the Northern shores of France. The action was a turning point in the Second World War and signalled the "beginning of the end" for the Nazi occupation of France and Western Europe.

However, the battles came with a cost. The position of the 18 Commonwealth War Graves Commission war cemeteries in Normandy give an indication of the progress of the fighting and its human cost.

There are more than 22,000 Commonwealth war dead buried in these cemeteries, but many more graves will be found in churchyards and village cemeteries throughout the region. In addition, the Bayeux Memorial commemorates 1,800 men and women of the Commonwealth land forces who fell during Operation Overlord and have no known grave.

​The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) commemorates the 1.7 million Commonwealth servicemen and women who died during the two World Wars. It also holds and updates an extensive and accessible records archive. The Commission operates in more than 23,000 locations in more than 150 countries and territories.

Submissions to Remembering Normandy 

Tribute requests received before 31 May will be placed in time for 6 June, the anniversary of the D-Day landings. Submissions received before the closing date on 7 June will be placed in the following two weeks. The tributes are made from a recyclable, biodegradable fibre board. A full list of the 19 CWGC sites included in Remembering Normandy and further details can be found at: www.cwgc.org/share-your-tribute

Submissions must make clear the details of the casualty being remembered to allow our teams to accurately lay the markers. For identified casualties, these will be placed at their grave, while missing personnel will have their tributes placed in front of the memorial that bears their name.

The tributes will be placed free of charge, though a donation can be made to the Commonwealth War Graves Foundation, supporting education programmes that keep alive the stories of the 1.7 million men and women remembered by CWGC.

A photo showing the grave or memorial once the tribute has been placed will be returned to each relative who wishes to take part.

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