Theresa May has announced bank fines will be used to provide 20m ($24.6m) funding for a monument to commemorate those killed in the D-Day landings in Normandy. The monument will be the first in honour of Britons killed in the landings to be erected in Normandy, which is due to be built in time to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Allied's counterattack in 2019.
The monument has been campaigned for by the Normandy Memorial Trust, spearheaded by George Batts, former secretary of the Normandy Veterans Association, who was just 18 when he took part in the assault by the Allied Forces on 6 June, 1944. More than 61,000 Brits took part in the landings, in which thousands lost their lives.
Batts told Sky News: "It has been the dream of Normandy veterans for many years for there to be a British memorial in Normandy dedicated to all those from the British armed forces who lost their lives in the D-Day landings and in the Normandy campaign which followed.
"This generous commitment by Her Majesty's Government will finally enable us to realise this ambition."
In addition to financial support provided by the UK government for the project, which will come from Libor fines imposed on banks, the Normandy Memorial Trust has also launched a fundraising appeal for the monument. The trust's website said the memorial would "provide a narrative highlighting the emotional and historical significance of the sacrifices from a British perspective".
According to the trust, two possible sites had been identified for the monument, which architect Liam O'Connor has been commissioned to design. Surveys of the sites in Colleville Montgomery and Ver Sur Mer are due to be surveyed imminently.
Announcing the funding, May said: "We must never forget the courage, sacrifice and selflessness of the British servicemen and women who gave their lives in the D-Day landings.
"Its unveiling on the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in 2019 will provide a timely reminder that we should never take our freedom for granted."