The village commemorating its unique place in D-Day history with moving memorial

-Credit: (Image: MEN)
-Credit: (Image: MEN)


Head into the idyllic village of Lower Peover in Cheshire this week, and you'll find an extraordinary memorial to mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

A group of soldiers have been modelled to emerge from a landing craft across a grassy verge in a haunting tableau on the way into the village. The grass has also been adorned with bright red ceramic poppies.

It has become the moving centrepiece amid a number of events to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day and the unique place in history this tiny village had to play in the story of Operation Overlord.

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A group of residents in the village have put together the memorial on Smithy Green, which visitors are hailing a 'stunning', 'breathtaking' and 'brilliant reminder' of the heroes who went to war to liberate Europe from Nazi rule.

As a poster at the site of the memorial movingly details, at 00.01 on June 6, 156,000 troops landed in Normanday - by midnight 4,414 troops had lost their lives.

The haunting tableau in memory of D-Day in the village of Lower Peover -Credit:MEN
The haunting tableau in memory of D-Day in the village of Lower Peover -Credit:MEN

But the operation would go on to begin the libertaion of France - which ultimately led to the end of World War Two.

The memorial tableau is just one part of the commemorations this week in Lower Peover, with a free exhibition taking place in the village church, St Oswald's, until Sunday, June 9.

Meanwhile at the village pub next door to the church, The Bells of Peover, the British and American flags have long been flying outside in recognition of its place in the D-Day story.

Now a new blue plaque has been unveiled on the building in honour of the meetings that were held there back in 1944 between American Generals George S. Patton and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The Bells of Peover pub has a new blue plaque -Credit:MEN
The Bells of Peover pub has a new blue plaque -Credit:MEN

The Americans discussed the D-Day landings over lunches at the pub, and memorabilia from that time remains on display inside. The dining room is also named The Patton Room after the war-time General.

The blue plaque, unveiled this week, reads: "At this public house in the lead up to D-Day 1944 General Patton and General Eisenhower made their final plans over lunch for Operation Overlord - the Battle of Normandy". The plaque has been donated by Captain Anthony Harrison on the 80th anniversary of D- Day.

The operation the generals were planning in Lower Peover would begin on June 6, 1944. Allied forces from Britain, America and the Commonwealth gathered on five beaches in Normandy, ready to launch the biggest naval and airborne invasion the world had ever seen.

D-Day is now known as the beginning of the end of Nazy Germany and the war in Europe.

The 80th anniversary exhibition at St Oswald's -Credit:MEN
The 80th anniversary exhibition at St Oswald's -Credit:MEN

General Patton was initially given command of the US Third Army in January 1944 and assigned to prepare his soldiers for that impending battle in Europe. Cheshire became the headquarters for Patton's army, with Patton himself stationed at the historic Peover Hall with staff officers.

On Thursday morning this week, a special walk was undertaken from St Oswald's Church at Lower Peover over the fields across to St Lawrence's Church at Over Peover. Patton was a deeply religious man and worshipped at the Over Peover Church while stationed there.

The American flag he donated to the church before leaving for France remains on display there to this day.

The free exhibition at St Oswald's is open until Sunday, June 9 -Credit:MEN
The free exhibition at St Oswald's is open until Sunday, June 9 -Credit:MEN

Inside St Oswald's, a large free exhibition has been created by dedicated residents of Lower Peover and Plumley, after hours of research and interviews with families of soldiers involved in D-Day.

Silhouette figures have been sat in pews across the church, with the moving stories of each soldier retold upon them.

Visitors can also find out more about the role a host of other Cheshire villages played during World War II,

The D-Day exhibition is free, and open daily from 12noon to 8pm at St Oswald's Church until Sunday June 9.