A STATUE commemorating the sacrifice of thousands of brave soldiers on D-Day will be taking up permanent residence in Portsmouth.
The statue of Lieutenant Den Brotheridge will be based at the D-Day Story museum in Southsea – a tribute to the thousands of soldiers who gave their lives on D-Day.
Lt Brotheridge was in the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry 2nd Batallion, and is believed to be the first soldier to be killed during the pivotal invasion of Normandy..
The poignant monument has been touring the nation ahead of its arrival at the revamped Southsea attraction.
Beginning in Manchester, the installation worked its way south to Portsmouth, arriving in Southsea on Saturday before setting sail for France that evening.
It is expected the statue – made of steal and melted rods – will remain in France for several days before returning to the D-Day Story museum as part of the heritage site’s £5m transformation project.
Jane Barnard from museum said she was ‘delighted’ to be bringing the metal soldier home.
She said: ‘We decided as part as the transformation that we should do something that could be taken out and about.
‘Veterans have told us that they wanted something that kept their stories alive – and I think that does that really well.
‘To commemorate the incredible contribution of the men who made the ultimate sacrifice, the soldier is sat in a pile of 4,413 bullets; one for each soldier believed to have died on D-Day.’
As part of the UK tour, the statue also made pit stops in Liverpool, before head to Aston Villa Football Club and later London Waterloo Station, among other places.
Jane said the response from people across the country showed people will never forget the incredible sacrifice made by so many men.
She said: ‘When we were in London we actually had a whole group of schoolchildren turn up to learn about the statue, which is incredible.
‘People have taken a real interest in the statue of Lt Brotheridge, and that allows us to tell the remarkable story of D-Day and help people to visualise it much more.
‘It’s about engaging with people and it’s been quite emotional to hear people talk about the impact something like this will have in the future, especially as the number of veterans who remember D-Day gets fewer and fewer.
‘This statue will preserve their memories forever.’