The recently installed Arromanches D Day garden pays tribute to the veterans of the Battle of Normandy. The garden is known as D-Day 75 Garden and was first exhibited at the RHS Chelsea Garden Show in May 2019.
It was officially opened at its new permanent site in Arromanches on the 75th anniversary of D-Day. It now overlooks Mulberry Harbour and Gold Beach, which is one of the five D-Day landing beaches.
Bill Pendell was chosen to represent the veterans although sadly he passed away aged 97 in December 2018. In 1944 Bill landed on Gold Beach aged 22. With his family’s blessing, two sculptures of him have been included in the garden.
At the entrance to the garden, Bill sits on a stone plinth wearing his medals and beret. He looks across at another sculpture of his younger self about to land on D-Day. Four further sculptures of soldiers show them wading through the waves as they navigate the obstacles on Gold Beach.
The sculpture of 97 year old Bill is carved from a single block of Millstone Grit. And the young soldiers opposite are constructed from thousands of individually welded metal washers.
75 years separates these two scenes. Visitors are invited to consider how it must have felt for veterans and to reflect on the intense experiences they endured on D-Day and the days that followed.
The photos probably don’t do it justice. It is hauntingly beautiful. There’s a fluidity to the sculptures of the young soldiers as if they’re there but not there. I found it incredibly emotive.
The Arromanches D Day garden was designed by John Everiss and in the video below you can learn more about how the sculptures were made. Also there’s more information about the project on the D-Day Revisited website.
Where To Find The Garden
It’s right next to the 360 Circular Museum in Arromanches. You can access it via rue Calvaire. There is paid parking next to the museum. Alternatively, you can park in the town and walk up the hill to the cliff top.