History from across the centuries, Royalty from the 21st

Mon 23rd October, 2017
 

Earl of Wessex commemorates the Battle for Hill 112 in Normandy

The Earl of Wessex has attended a commemoration service at Cote 112 Memorial in Normandy to pay homage to the British soldiers who died during the Battle for Hill 112 during the Second World War.

Prince Edward arrived into the town of Esquay-notre-Dame, near Caen, via helicopter to attend the service on the coast yesterday.

The Battle for Hill 112 was a major battle during the Battle of Normandy, when British and Canadian allied troops tried to take the region from the Germans.

Although the battle was a significant part of the war, it was only in the year 2000 that it truly came to significance. Former artilleryman who served in the British 43rd Wessex Division, Albert Figg, worked hard for over 20 years to raise money and attention about the Battle for Hill 112.

The President of Odon Côte 112, Gilles Osmont, who manages the memorial, said: “The Germans were watching all of Caen on this hill, watching all the movements of the Canadian and British forces and could dig them with their artillery.”

Mr  Osmont notes: “In 2000, [Figg] brought in a Churchill Infantry Support Tank, then there was the statue of the British infantryman and finally he found a sponsor to plant 112 trees.”

Price Edward laid a wreath for the lives lost in the battle, at the foot of a statue depicting a soldier and his gun, before chatting with veterans and their families.

This morning, the children from a local school in neighbouring Esquay-notre-Dame placed a candle and a small British flag at the foot of the 112 trees that line the monument.

Sadly, Albert Figg died a few days ago and could not attend the first memorial service that he had worked tirelessly to bring about, but his son and daughter joined The Earl of Wessex to unveil a plaque dedicated to Albert. Now, Albert’s work and the sacrifice that his comrades made to defend Britain will be remembered going into the future.

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