New D-Day Sculpture To Mark 75 Years Since ‘Heroic Sacrifice’
A new sculpture incorporating more than 4,000 replica bullets has been unveiled to mark the 75th anniversary year of D-Day. The creation, titled D-Day: Soldiers of Sacrifice has been created in tribute to the 4,414 Allied servicemen who lost their lives in the first 24 hours of the Allies’ invasion of Normandy.
The figure represents Denham Brotheridge, widely believed to be the first Allied serviceman to be killed by enemy action on D-Day, atop 4,414 bullets, representing his comrades in arms who fell in battle later that day. Lieutenant Brotheridge of D Company, 2nd Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, took part in a surprise raid on bridges, landing in occupied France via gliders with his men.
The 28-year-old was mortally wounded in the attack which secured the bridge at Benouville. Back home in Smethwick, Birmingham, his wife was pregnant with his daughter, Margaret Brotheridge. Now aged 75, she will accompany the sculpture of her father after its unveiling in Manchester today, as it goes on a national tour of the UK and Normandy ahead of official commemorations in June in Portsmouth. The soldier’s form is crouched down as if to throw a grenade, but instead he is releasing a dove; symbolising peace and acknowledging that the soldiers’ deaths were not in vain.
Funded by the National Lottery, it was commissioned by ‘The D-Day Story’ museum in Portsmouth, the UK’s only museum dedicated to Operation Overlord, the campaign to liberate Normandy from the Nazis, beginning on 6 June 1944. Welsh artist Alfie Bradley, best known for his Knife Angel made from 100,000 knives surrendered during amnesties, created the sculpture. He said: “This has been such a meaningful project, and I’ve loved working with The D-Day Story to create this lasting tribute to the heroes that gave their lives for us in World War Two.
“Den Brotheridge was 28, the same age I am now, when he died.
“I can’t even begin to imagine how terrifying it would have been to land on the beach in Normandy that day.
“The more I’ve read up on D-Day over the last few months, the more I realise how grateful we all should be for their heroic sacrifice.”
Jane Barnard from The D-Day Story museum said: “We’re thrilled to be commemorating the 75th year since the D-Day landings with such a poignant and meaningful sculpture.
“We have chosen locations close to the heart of Den and World War Two and it’s fantastic his daughter has been able to join us for the tour, her stories of her father are truly captivating and emotive.
“We hope everyone finds solace in the story of Den and the unbelievable amount of bravery all the servicemen showed during D-Day.”
The sculpture will be available to view on the following days:
- March 4: The Piazza, Media City, Salford.
- March 5: Liverpool Parish Church (Our Lady and Saint Nicholas).
- March 6: Villa Park, Birmingham.
- March 7: Waterloo Station, London.
- March 8: Bletchley Park, Bletchley.
- March 9: South Parade Pier, Portsmouth.
- March 10: Pegasus Beach Bridge, Normandy, France.
- March 11: The D-Day Story museum, Portsmouth.