Day 6 – Tuesday 5th June
Annual Hill 112 Ceremony
For many years, now, we’ve attended the small ceremony on Hill 112 to commemorate the veterans of both sides who fought & died in Operations EPSOM & JUPITER. The main commemoration is in July (on the Sunday nearest to the commencement of Operation JUPITER). However there has always been a small service on the 5th June as part of the Normandy-wide commemorations of D Day.
Unfortunately, for many of us in attendance, this year was sadder than most. In 2017, we’d said “Goodbye” to veteran Albert Figg. He had campaigned tirelessly & unselfishly towards the installation of the memorials that are currently in place on the Hill. Last year, he saw his vision of a “Cross of Peace, 112 trees planted in the shape of an open cross with the memorial of the infantryman at it’s centre, come to completion. Sadly, Albert passed away just days before HRH Prince Edward (the Earl of Wessex) arrived to inaugurate the memorial group.
As a part of this year’s ceremony, Albert’s daughter, Annette, placed some of Alberts ashes at the foot of one of the trees near the statue. A fitting tribute to her father who had spent most of his latter years campaigning & fundraising to ensure that the men that fought for Hill 112 were remembered. It was known at the time as “The Verdun of Normandy”. Field Marshall Erwin Rommel said that “whoever controls Hill 112 controls Normandy”.
One person was, unusually, missing from the service. Our friend Ben Oostra, who was stuck in Arromanches with a broken-down jeep!
Food at Evrecy
Once again, we took over the L’Audace restaurant on the outskirts of Évrecy for a commemorative meal. We used this to raise some funds towards the upkeep of the memorials. Just as we arrived at the restaurant so did Ben. Though in a “normal” car, as his jeep was still giving problems.
After the meal, there was a brief meeting of the committee of the Hill 112 Memorial Fund Association, of which Colin is a member. This has been established to continue Albert’s work of Remembrance & to raise the funds to complete a documentary of the battles for Hill 112. In addition, any surplus funds will be used to support the memorials currently on the Hill. At the meeting, Gilles Osmond, president of the Association Odon-Cote 112 , was asked to sit on this committee as well, and he accepted the invitation. If you’d like to find out more about Hill 112 & Albert’s mission, then this is a great place to start.
Marshall Amps… or not
Following the meal, Annette & her friend, Heather, headed off to the hairdressers. With some others we went to Gilles’ house for tea & coffee. Whilst there, he showed us around his new “den”. There we saw what we initially thought was a new guitar amp…
I gave Gilles some electronic copies of the images of various war diaries that we had taken last year at the National Archives. Then it was time to leave.
We decided to head into Arromanches for our meal & beer. As we were walking into town, we spotted Ben Oostra and his party just heading back to their campsite. Where they hoped to finally sort out his jeep ready for the 6th June.