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Forces War Records Blog

NORMANDY BEACH DISPLAYS HAUNTING REMINDER OF THE CARNAGE OF WAR

Blogger: GemSen We had the BBC One Show on last night and I wasn’t that engrossed until I saw some footage showing thousands of stenciled bodies on a Normandy beach as part of an art tribute to remember those who lost their lives during the D-Day landings.
British Troops going to the D-Day beaches in a Duck.

Created on international Peace Day (21 September), and named 'The Fallen' the art project aimed to give a glimpse at the scale of the carnage of war — a visual representation of the thousands of human lives lost during the hours of the tide during the landings in Normandy. With help from hundreds of volunteers, the two British artists behind the project stencilled 9,000 poignant silhouettes in the sand of the D-Day landing beaches in France to represent the civilians, Germans and Allied Forces that died at Arromanches, on 6th June 1944, during World War II. Covering the famous coastline, the design was originally thought up by Bradford sculptors Jamie Wardley, 33, and Andy Moss, 50. “The Fallen is a sobering reminder of what happens when peace is not present,”  Mr Wardley told the Daily Mail. “The idea is to create a visual representation of what is otherwise unimaginable, the thousands of human lives lost during the hours of the tide during the Second World War Normandy landings. “People understand that so many lives were lost that day but it's incredibly difficult to picture that number. “You could see the horrific casualty of war when you stood on the cliff looking down at the beach.” Operation Overlord On June 6, 1944, during World War II, thousands of Allied troops began storming the Normandy beaches in a major offensive against the Germans. Codenamed ‘Operation Overlord’, around 156,000 British, American, and Canadian forces landed on five beaches in Normandy during World War II. Before the military assault took place, the Allies knew that the planned amphibious operations against an enemy in a strong defensive position were likely to produce heavy casualties. The controversial Allied landings in Normandy were among the most desperate undertakings in the history of war. The 50-mile Normandy coastline chosen for the invasion, running from Carentan in the west to Caen in the east, was divided into five beaches: Sword, Juno, Gold, Omah and Utah. Some estimates state that more than 4,000 Allied troops lost their lives in the D-Day invasion, with thousands more wounded or missing. However, by the end of the day around 156,000 Allied troops had successfully stormed Normandy’s beaches. The Normandy invasion made a vital psychological blow to the enemy and prevented Hitler from sending troops from France to build up his Eastern Front. By May 8, 1945, Hitler had committed suicide and the Allies formally accepted the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany. At the mercy of the tide Families and veterans, including some who have lost loved ones in more recent conflicts have been involved in the project. Apparently, people from all over the world travelled to France to take part. “There were others who happened to be walking by and wanted to get involved. It showed that people from all over totally understood the message behind it and I found it very overwhelming,” added Mr Wardley. “Some people told us that they had lost family in the Second World War and others said they had lost loved ones in Afghanistan and wanted to pay a tribute to them.” The scene didn’t last long as it was left to the mercy of the tide, which came in and washed away the sand drawings after around four and a half hours. “Watching the tide come in and wash the bodies away was symbolic of all the lives lost in all wars, not just during the Normandy Landings,” said Mr Wardley. Source: Daily Mail [youtube=http://youtu.be/dpVtoS_LvAg] Don’t let your past fade away Do you have any D-Day heroes in your family? Maybe you are researching them and your family’s military history – search the Forces war records site and fill in the missing pieces… You’ll also find plenty of interesting finds relating to World War II and D-Day in the Forces War Records historic document library.
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