(Image: Lord Richard Dannatt, Chair of Normandy Memorial Trust, and Cressida Hogg, Chair of BAE Systems at the Memorial.

Credit: BAE Systems)

Normandy Memorial Trust announces second phase of project with construction of the ‘Winston Churchill Centre for Education and Learning’ on site of British Normandy Memorial.

Left to Right: Thierry Ozenne, President Seulles Terre et Mer (STM) ,Jo Hawley, deputy trade commissioner Europe, Caitlin Hayden, Group Communications Director at BAE Systems, Cédric Nouvelot, Conseiller Régional et Vice-Président du Département du Calvados, Cressida Hogg, Chair of BAE Systems, Lord Richard Dannatt, Chair of Normandy Memorial Trust, Gabby Costigan, Group Managing Director, Business Development for BAE Systems, Stéphane Jacquet, Vice-Président STM et Président Gold Beach Tourism Office

Construction has begun on ‘The Winston Churchill Centre for Education and Learning’ which is set to open on 6 June 2024, the 80th anniversary of D-Day. On Tuesday 16 January, the moment was marked with the ‘breaking of ground’ at the Memorial site in the presence of Cressida Hogg, Chair of BAE Systems, Lord Richard Dannatt, Chair of Normandy Memorial Trust as well as representatives from British Embassy, Paris, Seulles Terre et Mer (confederation of 28 communes) and Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Barker Langham is the agency responsible for the design of the Centre.

Illustrative image of the completed Centre. Credit: British Normandy Memorial / Barker Langham

This is an historic milestone in the evolution of the Memorial project. The creation of the Centre will fulfil the Trust’s ambition to allow future generations to learn from the events of summer 1944 and keep alive the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

The Winston Churchill Centre has been funded through a donation of £600,000 from the Trust’s principal sponsor, BAE Systems. The Ministry of Defence has also contributed to the construction of the Centre. The Normandy Region, the Department of Calvados and the Seulles Terre et Mer Community of Communes have also made a significant contribution towards funding of the Centre.

Other funding has been generously given by:

Teledyne FLIR
Addleshaw Goddard
Zone Vale

Cressida Hogg with Lord Richard Dannatt at the construction site on Memorial campus. Credit: BAE Systems

The new building will house two educational exhibition galleries telling stories of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, curated by The Royal British Legion. A specially designed classroom for use by schools from the UK, France and beyond will also be available, plus a shop selling official merchandise and a café. The Centre will be free-of-charge to visit.

Credit: BAE Systems

Over the coming months, the Normandy Memorial Trust will make further announcements on plans to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

Normandy Veteran and Memorial Ambassador Ken Hay MBE said:

“Remembrance and education go hand in hand, and for future generations to keep the memory of the 22,442 alive they need to understand the story of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy – why it happened, who was involved, what they did and why it must never be allowed to happen again. The new Winston Churchill Centre will go a long way to achieving this for schoolchildren, families and young people visiting the Memorial.

I visit to talk to schools in England and in Normandy and to have 120 children paying attention to one’s every word, as is evidenced by the number and range of questions that follow, speaks volumes for the teaching they have received and for those who shape modern education – far more meaningful than the Roman & Greek wars that were taught when I was a lad. I have no doubt that the new Education Centre can only enhance future generation’s understanding of this key battle in the Second World War, the part we played in the liberation of Europe and, most important, the price paid by those that we Veterans left behind.”

General Lord Richard Dannatt, Chairman of Trustees of the Normandy Memorial Trust said:

“This year is the 80th anniversary of D-Day, the Allied landings which opened the door to western Europe’s freedoms.

“The Normandy Memorial Trust is building ‘The Winston Churchill Centre for Education and Learning’ at the British Normandy Memorial. The purpose of this education centre is to ensure that new generations never forget what Britain did for Europe in 1944 and to remember the sacrifice of so many.

“We are delighted that the Centre’s ‘principal sponsor’ is Britain’s premier defence company BAE Systems. Like us, they recognise the importance of understanding the past and learning its lessons.

“We are deeply grateful for their support as indeed we are to our French partners, the Normandy Region, Department of Calvados and the Communauté de Communes, Seulles Terres et Mer (STM) and the European Union.

“I should also like to thank the Churchill family for agreeing to the centre being named after Britain’s distinguished wartime prime minister.”

Cressida Hogg, Chair of BAE Systems, said:

“As a company with a strong heritage in protecting our armed forces, I’m incredibly proud that we can play our part in honouring the courage and sacrifice of those men and women who gave so much to protect our freedoms.

“Sadly, with a dwindling number of surviving veterans, D-Day will soon pass from living memory. So, it’s more important than ever that we find ways to permanently mark their place in history, enabling young people to understand our past and learn the lessons from it to shape our future.”


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