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. Whilst the main commemoration is in July (on the Sunday nearest to the commencement of Operation JUPITER), 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 as in 2017, we’d said “Goodbye” to veteran Albert Figg who had campaigned tirelessly & unselfishly towards the installation of a number of the memorials that are currently in place on the Hill. Last year, he saw his vision of a “Cross of Peace” with 112 trees planted in the 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 – known at the time as “The Verdun of Normandy” & Field Marshall Erwin Rommel said that “whoever controls Hill 112 controls Normandy” – were remembered.
One person that was, unusually, missing from the service was 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 where we also raised some funds towards the upkeep of the memorials. Just as we arrived at the restaurant, Ben was able to join us, ‘though in a “normal” car, rather than his jeep which was still giving problems.
After the meal, there was a brief meeting of the committee of the Hill 112 Memorial Fund Association which Colin is a member of. This has been established to continue Albert’s work of Remembrance & 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 also sit on this committee which he accepted. In passing, 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 & some of us headed back to Gilles’ house for tea & coffee. Whilst there, he showed us around his new “den” where he had bought what we initially thought was a new guitar amp…
It was then time for us to leave – having first left Gilles with some electronic copies of the various war diaries that we had taken last year at the National Archives.
We decided to head into Arromanches for our meal & beer. As we were walking into town, we spotted Ben Oostra, again, with his party, just heading back to their campsite to (hopefully) finally sort out his jeep ready for the 6th June.