CIVIC leaders have welcomed £20m funding for a memorial to those killed during the D-Day landings.
It comes as the names of 21,000 casualties of the Normandy landings are to be put on a memorial, due to be erected at the site of fierce fighting which took place during and after the Allied landings in France in 1944.
The monument will be unveiled on the 75th anniversary of D-Day in 2019.
It will carry the names of the estimated 21,000 members of the British armed forces and Merchant Navy, as well as those from other nations who fought alongside them, who died in the campaign.
Government announced yesterday it will fund the memorial with £20m from the Libor bank rate fines.
A fundraising appeal is due to be launched by the Normandy Memorial Trust, supported by the Royal British Legion, to add to the government cash injection.
Armed Forces champion at Portsmouth City Council, Councillor Frank Jonas, welcomed the move.
He said: ‘I have been to France on many occasions to the battlefield, to the beaches.
‘The announcement is very, very good.
‘I was surprised that the children and grandchildren go over there, it’s younger people going over there more and more.
‘It’s good for when they have their services over there, it’s a very nice thought from the government.’
The memorial will also pay tribute to several thousand sailors and airmen who were lost at sea, and those who died from their wounds after being brought back to the UK for treatment.
It is hoped many of the remaining veterans, and the families of those who fought, will attend the unveiling ceremony planned for June 6, 2019.
Richard Dickson, Gosport and Alverstoke branch president of the Royal British Legion, also welcomed the announcement yesterday.
He said: ‘It’s an excellent idea and all those people should be commemorated.
‘It’s a wonderful way for us to permanently remember.’
George Batts, former national secretary of the Normandy Veterans’ Association, said: ‘It has been the dream of Normandy veterans for many years for there to be a British memorial in Normandy dedicated to all those from the British armed forces who lost their lives in the D-Day landings and in the Normandy campaign which followed.
‘This generous commitment by Her Majesty’s Government will finally enable us to realise this ambition in time for the 75th anniversary of D-Day in June 2019.’
Prime minister Theresa May said: ‘We must never forget the courage, sacrifice and selflessness of the British servicemen and women who gave their lives in the D-Day landings.’