Military Police at Southwick Park Memorial Church unveil D-Day stained glass window
DIGNITARIES and military personnel have been in attendance at a ceremony to unveil a D-Day themed stained-glass window at the Service Police Memorial Church at Southwick Park.
The official unveiling was carried out by Susan Eisenhower whose grandfather, Dwight David Eisenhower, was a former president of the USA. In his previous position as commander of the allied forces in Europe, he also played a pivotal role in orchestrating D-Day.
Susan commented: ’I am thrilled to be here to unveil this beautiful stained glass window. I am old enough to remember a lot of people who took part in events 75 years ago, including my grandfather. Seventy five is a big number and it is important we continue to remember what this event means. The story of D-Day is no less relevant now than it was 75 years ago. It’s important we continue to learn lessons and to teach our children about the perils of war.’
The window was the idea of retired colonel, Jeremy Green OBE.
‘I wanted an image which reflected D-Day - an event which 75 years ago this house and nearby village was at the centre of. In many ways it is from here where D-Day was launched and so this stained glass window is in place as a memory to those who made such a striking impact 75 years ago,’ he explained.
The design was the creation of York based artist, Helen Whittaker.
The window depicts a military policeman beckoning allied forces into France with one hand while at the same time stopping any German counter attack with the other.
Helen said: ‘The theme of showing or pointing the way was an appropriate one as fundamentally that is what the Military Police did in war.’
Also prominent in the design is the colour yellow to represent the beaches of Normandy with a distinctive arrow illustrating the Military Police leading the way as allied forces make their way from the beach to the green interior.
Colonel Green added: ‘We must not forget that the Normany campaign churned up the lives of so many. The period between June and September 1944 saw casualty rates more than double those of the French battlefields during World War One.’
The total cost for the window was £10,000 with money for the project provided by donations and grants from the Worshipful Company of Security Professionals Charitable Trust and the Southwick Village ‘D-Day Revival’ Committee.