The Spirit of Normandy Trust is a registered charity (1038121)
dedicated to perpetuate the memory of those who fought
to preserve freedom in 1944.
Please find our January newsletter here
Captain Robert Fieffé– 1928 – 2017
On 10th January 2017 the funeral took place, in Cheux, France, of Robert Fieffé a well known figure at Aldershot Airborne Forces Day. Robert used to annually bring his group of ex Para’s to the UK and many will have personally known him and have fond memories.
The Aldershot branch of the PRA first met Robert, when one year on a visit to France they found their hotel double booked. Robert immediately organised all the villagers of Cheux who welcomed many as guests into their homes.
He was too young to join the Forces during the war, but took an active part in helping the French Resistance by delivering messages on his bicycle
Robert was instrumental as a leading figure in restoring Pegasus Bridge and the new Museum. He was well known and respected throughout Normandy and will be greatly missed.
Please find our 2016 christmas card here
BBC RADIO 4 "THE CHAPLAIN'S SUITCASE"
Listen out for Jenni Crane on the 27th December, 4pm on BBC Radio 4. Jenni Crane explores the life of parachuting padre George Parry.
The Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey
The Trust pays for a plot at this ceremony every year and the Trust is represented by a Trustee and if at all possible accompanied by a Veteran of the Campaign. This year Ian Stewart, Vice-Chairman of the Trust was present with Veteran Don Sheppard from the Southend Normandy Veterans Branch. A cold day for the event but a dry one and we were all grateful for that at least.
Taxi Charity trip to Normandy 4th-8th June 2017 (shared from cobseo.org.uk)
In June 2017, The London Taxi Benevolent Association for War Disabled will be taking 150 World War Two veterans in 90 London Taxis on a five day visit to Normandy.
The charity is inviting Associations and Charities, who may have World War Two veterans in their ranks to register their details with us if they would like to be considered for a place on the trip. A full but gentle itinerary has been planned to take into account the age of the veterans accompanying us. Carers are permitted to accompany veterans but it is hoped we can keep carers to a minimum to allow us to take as many veterans as possible. All travel is in a London licensed taxi and where possible, veterans are picked up from their homes in London and the South East. Veterans unable to be picked up at home may join the trip at the Union Jack Club or at Portsmouth Harbour.
The trip is free for veterans and their carers. For more information and / or to register an interest please contact Dick Goodwin on 01920 464748 or e-mail email@example.com
Charity Reg. No. 264678
Follow this link to a flyer.
The Cenotaph Parade 2016
The Spirit of Normandy Trust was proud and delighted that six Normandy Veterans, carers and supporters joined the Trust’s contingent at the 2016 Cenotaph parade on the 13th November. They were under the watchful eye of WO Baz Firth MBE, who acted as Platoon Commander, whose care and attention to detail was second to none and to whom we are extremely grateful. The veterans travelled from as far away as Cheshire and Wiltshire to attend and regrettably, at the last minute, two veterans were unable to join the group because of ill health. The event proved a “mammoth” effort for the veterans now all well into their 90’s. Everyone was required to be at Horseguards by 9am but did not “fall in” for the parade until around 11:30am and then proudly undertook the mile long march. A few were pushed in wheelchairs but two of the veterans marched the whole route unaided. It is regrettable that so many of the contingents that include WW2 veterans are so far back in the parade especially as it should be appreciated that there won’t be many years when they will be able to attend this very special parade. Thank you again Baz, also not forgetting his wife and son, the veterans, their carers and the others who were such a great support on the day.
This is a Veteran who travelled down from Cheshire and was accompanied by his grandson who flew over from the US to join him at the parade.
Legacy Tour to Normandy
The Legacy Tour was organised by Mark Waring , Alan Ridley and the team of Return to Normandy 2016 , they raised the funds to take youngsters aged 10+ accompanied by a parent or grandparent , with 4 Normandy veterans and their carers, on a "whirlwind" trip to Normandy from 22 - 25th October. The group stayed in Arromanches and were delighted and appreciative to have the complimentary services of a well renowned guide Stuart Robertson.
Two of the pupils present had won free places in a competition. The veterans' travel and accommodation was fully sponsored and the other participants received extremely generous rates subsidised by RTN2016. The places visited, amongst museums and other "quick stops", were the British beaches, the American sector, Juno beach and Ranville Cemetery.
Mary & Ian Stewart, (Hon:secretary and Vice Chairman of the Spirit of Normandy Trust) met up with the group at several locations, to join their younger Grandson, who was accompanied by his Mum. They realised that being the youngest present it was a lot of detailed information for him to "take on board" . However, he like the others, all had a great rapport , especially the veterans , who were fully aware that this incredible opportunity and experience was something they will never forget, and will hopefully pass on to their children and grandchildren.
RTN2016 are to be congratulated on the concept of the project and their dedicated organisation. An enormous contribution to educating this, and the next generation. The veterans are "Living History" , whose company and experiences we are privileged to share.
Return To Normandy's next event is a Christmas lunch to be held on 4th December in Portsmouth for Normandy veterans, families and supporters, for more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Plans are already in place to take the veterans to Normandy in June and for further "Legacy Tours" in August and October 2017
72nd Anniversary of the Normandy Landings
An important commemoration
June this year, as in so many previous years, saw a large number of Normandy veterans travelling to France to take part in a wide range of commemorative events. There were numerous events across Normandy over the first week or so of June. The events captured in this newsletter are just a flavor of some of those that were held. 72 years on from the operation that freed France, and ultimately Europe, from a sinister and oppressive regime, the events were as emotional and meaningful as always.
Saturday 4th June
Some of the major events started with the ceremony in front of the statue of Field Marshal Montgomery at Colleville Montgomery, which sits at Sword Beach.
The French Military Academy of Lorient decided this year to hold a ceremony at Colleville Montgomery on the morning of 5th June, which meant that the main commemorative event had to be moved to the 4th June. It was very well attended and was a very special event as it was the 20th anniversary of the unveiling of Montgomery’s statue. The Honourable Henry Montgomery, grandson of Field Marshal Montgomery was present at the service and spoke of the pride that his Grandfather would have had at the way the veterans continued to return to Normandy to remember the campaign and their comrades.
Veteran Fred Harris with the Hon Henry Montgomery
The Service at Colleville Montgomery was led by Rev Mandy Reynolds. The Dutch Band of Liberation provided the music and led veterans for a march past as they went to the sea front for a vin d’honneur, the salute being taken by the Mayor of Colleville Montgomery.
Saturday 5th June
A further, more informal, Service was held at the statue of Montgomery on 5th June for those who were unable to change travel arrangements to attend the service on 4th June.
The Mayor of Colleville Montgomery spoke at the Service and the event was led by Richard Palusinski, Chairman of the Spirit of Normandy Trust.
Richard Palusinski leads the Service at Colleville Montgomery
A number of other commemorative events were held at locations including Pegasus Bridge, Rots and the Jerusalem Cemetery in Chouain, all of which were attended by Trustees from the Spirit of Normandy Trust.
Rev Mandy Reynolds leads the Service at Arromanches
A large number of organisations worked together to make the events this year a great success. These included the Royal British Legion, Return to Normandy, Project 71, D Day revisited, the D Day academy, The Mairies of Colleville Montgomery and Arromanches and many others. A huge vote of thanks must go to them all.
Sunday 6th June