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A thought-provoking tree carving commemorating the bravery and sacrifice of soldiers, sailors and airmen has today been unveiled at a poignant location in Newcastle-under-Lyme on the 80th anniversary of a historic invasion.

The detailed 9ft memorial at the popular Brampton Park – commissioned by Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council – represents the troops, boats and planes that landed on the beaches of Normandy in France on D-Day on 6 June 1944: the largest land, naval and air operation in history which ultimately tipped the course of the Second World War in the Allies’ favour.

The masterpiece, created by local artist Anthony Hammond from a previously felled sycamore tree, features a “Tommy” trooper wearing a “turtle” combat helmet surrounded by an Allied soldier, Spitfire, Sherman tank, boat, landing craft and poppy. It stands close to the tree carving of Wolstanton war hero Tom Brown Tivey – also created by Anthony some years ago – and the metal sculpture of war nurse Vera Brittain, author of “Testament of Youth”.

The Normandy Landings, which saw the arrival of more than 130,000 fighters, marked the beginning of the liberation of France and Western Europe as German forces were pushed beyond the River Seine.

Beverley Sutton, Community Officer at Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, said: “The Council is delighted to unveil this amazing tree carving on the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings, as we pay tribute to those who served to protect our freedoms – many who came from the local area – and remember more than 22,000 British and Commonwealth personnel who lost their lives during the battle.

“Brampton Park is such a beautiful and peaceful place, which is enjoyed by many residents and visitors, so it’s the perfect location for something like this. The carving is situated close to two statues commemorating the First World War, adding great value to the cultural, aesthetic and economic vitality of the area. Together they make a really powerful impact and act as a visual reminder that we must never forget.

“Anthony has done a fantastic job and has paid such attention to detail, even getting a friend – who takes part in battle re-enactments – to model his soldier’s uniform. I would also like to thank our sponsors for helping to make this happen. I hope the sculpture can be enjoyed for years to come.”

The project is funded by Britain in Bloom sponsorship and Derek Mawby Surfacing, with an additional financial contribution coming from North Staffs Model Engineering Society which operates free train rides on the miniature railway at Brampton Park.

Anthony added: “It’s a real honour to be involved in this exciting project. I was really keen to create something that references the attack from land, air and sea – in commemoration of all the armed forces – so that people can instantly recognise that it’s about the D-Day landings. I think I’ve achieved my vision. I wanted to give the piece the respect it deserves; I’ve done a small thing to highlight a massive thing that they did.

“Lots of passers-by stopped and watched while I was carving the tree stump. They were really interested to see what was going on which is great to see. The carving is a great educational tool, helping us all to remember what happened in the past and the bravery of those who fought and died for our freedom.”


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