Plans for a memorial to D-Day engineering hero Allan Beckett moved a step closer to reality last week with the completion of the clay model for the bronze bas relief which will decorate a French monument to his work.
Sculptor Richard Clarke has been working with the Beckett family to ensure that the likeness on the bas relief is a true reflection of the man and after a few minor changes it has now been approved for casting.
Beckett’s contribution to the success of the 1944 D-Day landings was as the designer of the critical Mulberry Harbour landing bridges and anchors used at Arromanches.
This role is to be recognised by the French with a special monument in the heart of the coastal town this June (NCE 26 March).
Two bronze bas reliefs of Beckett will adorn the plinth on which a specially made replica of his unique plough anchor will sit.
The unveiling ceremony conducted by the mayor of Arromanches will be a centrepiece of the town’s 65th D-Day anniversary celebrations in the renamed Place Beckett on 6 June.
The clay model is pictured with an original George VI cap badge belonging to Major Bill Moncur, former Sapper and key organiser of engineering celebrations in Arromanches.
His badge will be used to create an accurate representation of the design as the Royal Engineers are part funding the sculpture.
However, as any sharp-eyed ex-sapper will notice, the badge position in this picture is slightly high. It has since been lowered ahead of the bronze casting process which will be carried out using the lost wax process by the Southampton firm GF James.
The finished sculptures will then be transported to France to be incorporated into the monument ahead of the celebrations.