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Poignant ‘Tommy’ display to mark 80th anniversary of D-Day at Stewart Park

Heritage and history

Tuesday, 04 June 2024
Alan Curtis, grounds technician at Askham Bryan College, and Cllr Ian Morrish with a 'Tommy'

A poignant display to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings will be on show in Middlesbrough’s Stewart Park.

Allied forces launched a combined assault on June 6, 1944, at Normandy on the coast of Nazi-occupied France, which ultimately led to the liberation of Europe.

As part of a series of events this week to mark the occasion, a unique installation of silhouette soldiers will be launched on Tuesday, June 4, at 5pm.

Marton West Councillor Ian Morrish and Nunthorpe Parish Councillor Jon Rathmell - known for their emotive and reflective memorial displays - have paid tribute to the sacrifice made by brave soldiers on D-Day.

The installation sees 80 ‘Tommies’ placed outside the Captain Cook Museum at Stewart Park, one for each year since the landings.

This installation will be in place for just a few weeks, allowing visitors to reflect on the courage displayed by those who departed British shores to fight for our freedom.

Preparations and the painting and preparing of the 80 statues have been ongoing at Askham Bryan College, which is based at the park.

Cllr Morrish said: “We hope that the event is supported by people who wish to give thanks to those who gave up their lives to set Europe free. 

“Both Cllr Rathmell and I would like to pay special thanks to Askham Bryan college, officers at Middlesbrough Council for their support and also to Cornerstone Business Solutions for donating the materials for the project."

The installation will be the first in a number of events held to mark D-day in Middlesbrough this week.

A D-Day proclamation will be made at 8am on June 6 from the steps of Middlesbrough Town Hall.

Later on Thursday, a civic service will take place from 9pm at the Cenotaph. The service will include the International Beacon Lighting Ceremony at 9.15pm.

The statue of Company Sergeant Major Stanley Hollis, close to the Cenotaph, will be lit up during the events.

C.S.M. Hollis, of 6th Battalion, The Green Howards, singlehandedly captured 30 German fighters during an intense day of fighting.

The extraordinary courage of the Middlesbrough man would later see him become the only soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery and actions on D-Day.