The idea behind the exhibition is to pay tribute to those extraordinary men who played a role in the Allied Invasion of Normandy in June 1944. The title of the exhibition comes from a message to the troops.
On the eve of D-Day General Eisenhower sent a message to all troops in which he declared, 'The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!'.
Twelve leading portrait painters were selected for the commission - one for each portrait. They include:
- four past winners of the BP Portrait Award First Prize - Catherine Goodman, James Lloyd, Ishbel Myerscough and Stuart Pearson Wright
- one winner of the BP Travel Award - Carl Randall
- winner of the BP Portrait Award Public Choice Award (twice) - Paul Benney
- Ondaatje prizewinner 1995, 2012 - Antony Williams RP PS NEAC
- Professor in Fine Art in the Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon art schools Graduate School, University of the Arts London - Eileen Hogan
The exhibition opened on 6th June - the 71st anniversary of the Allied invasion of Normandy. The D-Day Landings involved some 7,700 ships and 12,000 aircraft and began the slow process of liberatingGerman-occupied France. It was and still is the largest amphibious invasion in history.
Prior to this in 2010 HRH The Prince of Wales commissioned 15 portraits of surviving servicemen by alumni and faculty of The Royal Drawing School (previously known as The Prince’s Drawing School), to mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.
Admission to the exhibition is free.
My thanks to the Press Office of the Royal Collection for the images you see in this post. Obviously not everybody is going to be able to get to see the exhibition - however this important series needs highlighting - hence this post.
The portraits - the men and the artists
'I am delighted to introduce this exhibition of portraits of veterans of the D-Day landings and very much hope that all who see it will share my belief that this wonderful collection of paintings captures the spirit, resolve, warmth and humanity of these remarkable men. It seemed to me a tragedy that there were no portraits of D-Day veterans, hence this collection of remarkable old soldiers from the regiments of which my wife and I are Colonel or Colonel-in-Chief.'HRH The Prince of WalesThe 12 veterans all served in regiments with which HRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall have a formal association.
They are all shown wearing their medals win during WW2.
|Thomas ‘David’ Burke (b. 1924) - Sergeant with Royal Signals and later the Cheshire Yeomanry|
Artist: © James Lloyd | Photograph: © Royal Collection Trust
Mr Burke landed with Canadian forces as a signals sergeant and served through France and Germany until the Nazi surrender. He subsequently worked with the Allied Joint Signals Unit at the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal, and became part of the Cheshire Yeomanry after the war.
|James 'Jim' Glennie (b.1925) - Private with the 5th/7th Gordon Highlanders|
Artist: © Carl Randall | Photograph: © Royal Collection Trust
Mr Glennie was attached to the 5th/7th Gordon Highlanders for the landings on D-Day, subsequently advancing inland and taking up defensive positions near Caen. During a German counter-attack he was wounded and taken prisoner, spending four months as a prisoner of war.
Jack Griffiths (b.1921) - Pilot with the Glider Pilot Regiment
Artist: © Stuart Pearson Wright | Photograph: © Royal Collection Trust
Mr Griffiths flew a glider containing Parachute Regiment soldiers, successfully landing on the morning of D-Day. The soldiers went on to destroy bridges over the River Orne.
|Eric Johnston (b.1923) - Trooper with the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards|
Artist: © Catherine Goodman | Photograph: © Royal Collection Trust
Mr Johnston was a co-driver within the Reconnaissance Troop, which landed on Gold Beach at dawn. He took part in the battle of Villiers-Bocage and the defence of Hill103 and fought with his Regiment throughout Normandy.
|Robert Antony 'Tony' Leake (b.1925) - Corporal with the 8th Battalion The Parachute Regiment |
Artist: © Eileen Hogan | Photograph: © Royal Collection Trust
Dr Leake took part in the mass parachute drop behind the German lines. He blew bridges over the River Dives and set up defensive positions. The Battalion was cut off for five days, eventually being relieved by the Highland Division.
|Cecil Newton (b. 1923) - Trooper with the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards|
Artist: © Peter Kuhfeld | Photograph: © Royal Collection
On D-Day Mr Newton was a DD 'Swimming' Tank gunner, landing as part of the first wave on Gold Beach. After destroying a German defensive position, his tank became swamped, and he was required to evacuate on to the beach.
Geoffrey Pattinson (b.1924) - Sergeant with 9th Battalion The Parachute Regiment
Artist: © Jonathan Yeo | Photograph: © Royal Collection
Mr Pattinson was to land within the perimeter of the Merville Battery, but, due to a faulty glider, he landed in Hampshire. By the evening of D-Day his platoon had managed to land in Normandy and he re-joined his unit.
|Raymond ‘Tich’ Rayner (191-2015)- Sergeant with Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry|
Artist: © Ishbel Myerscough | Photograph: © Royal Collection Trust
Mr Raynor was in glider number four as part of the operation on Pegasus Bridge. His glider had navigational issues and landed seven miles away from the planned landing zone. He eventually fought his way back to his unit.
|Tom Renoulf (b.1925) - Private (later Lieutenant) with 5th Battalion Black Watch |
Artist: © Clara Drummond | Photograph: © Royal Collection Trust
Dr Renouf landed on the third day of the invasion, taking part in the battle for high ground around Breville. He, like Mr Stewart (below), was part of the 51st Highland Division who rescued the 8th Battalion of the Parachute Regiment.
|Brian Stewart (born 1922), Captain with the 1st Battalion, Tyneside Scottish|
Artist: © Paul Benney | Photograph: © Royal Collection Trust
Mr Stewart was the Anti-Tank Platoon Commander with the Tyneside Scottish, landing on 15 July. He helped to rescue comrades in the 8th Battalion of the Parachute Regiment who were cut off for several days in their bid to destroy the bridges over the River Dives.
Patrick 'Pat' Turner (b.1922) - Private with the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry
Artist: © Antony Williams | Photograph: © Royal Collection Trust
Mr Turner was part of the operation on Pegasus Bridge, landing in glider number three, within 50 metres of the bridge. He was instrumental in the assault and the securing of the Benouville Bridge and a route over the Caen Canal.
Laurence ‘Laurie’ Weeden (b.1922) - Pilot with the Glider Pilot Regiment
Artist: © Martin Yeoman | Photograph:© Royal Collection Trust
Mr Weeden flew a glider during the mass airborne operation on D-Day. He safely landed in Normandy, where his cargo of jeeps, explosives and ammunition were used by the 8th Battalion The Parachute Regiment to blow up bridges over the Dives River.The exhibition was organised by The Royal Drawing School. An associated publication The Last of the Tide: Portraits of D-Day Veterans, is published by Royal Collection Trust and Modern Art Press, price £5.00. It is available from The Queen's Gallery shop and www.royalcollection.org.uk/shop.