CAPTION: Bishop Nick processing into Bayeux Cathedral

Bishop of Plymouth moved by “immensely impressive” D-Day commemorations in Normandy

Posted: 6th June, 2019

The Bishop of Plymouth, The Rt Revd Nick McKinnel, has described events to mark the 75 anniversary of D-Day in Normandy as “immensely impressive” and “very moving”.

Bishop Nick with Vatican representative Cardinal Ouellet

The Bishop was in Normandy to take part in a Royal British Legion remembrance service at Bayeux Cathedral, a wreath laying at the British cemetery there and a peace symposium in Caen, which was almost destroyed during Operation Overlord in 1944.

The Diocese of Exeter is twinned with the Diocese of Bayeux Lisieux.

The Bishop said: “It was immensely impressive to see the veterans, all in their nineties, laying their wreaths at the cemetery, it was very moving.”

He said he was also moved by the sight of veterans from Plymouth arriving in Normandy by ferry.

Rt Rev’d McKinnel said he had also been struck by the number of French civilians who had lost their lives during the push to liberate France.

As part of his visit to Normandy he attended an event at St Stephen’s Abbey in Caen, somewhere residents had sought refuge as their city was bombed.

The Bishop also said Prime Minister Theresa May’s Bible reading of Micah 4:3 during the remembrance service had also been very poignant.

It is a verse about peace: “They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.”

He said: “It was interesting that this may have been her last public reading as leader of the Conservative party.

“The perspective an anniversary like this gives us is important, it shows the significance of nations working together.

“We shouldn’t lightly throw away that sense of common purpose.”

Thousands of British and Allied servicemen were based in Plymouth before sailing to Normandy in 1944. The concrete slipway built for them to join their landing craft remains at Saltash Passage on the Devon side of the River Tamar.