Normandy Day UK
1194. Dennis Davison
Dennis Davison, aged 96, from Coventry, is a D-Day veteran who established ‘Normandy Day UK’ in 2010 to provide education and engagement for veterans and schools in Coventry.
Dennis was previously the UK representative for the former organisation ‘Normandy Day International’, which mobilised schools and civic representatives from all nations involved in the D-Day landings to hold simultaneous peace picnics on the anniversary of D-Day. He decided to set up an equivalent UK organisation in his home city of Coventry to bring generations together in the cause of peace through educational trips, talks and resources, which has seen veterans speaking to over 3,500 students in the city. In collaboration with Coventry City Council, Dennis has also overseen the creation of a Peace Orchard in 2017, planted to commemorate those who fell during the Normandy Day Landings as well as providing a permanent space for schools and community groups to gather for workshops, events and an annual picnic marking D-Day.
Dennis’s award coincides with the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings. Alongside other veterans, he will be honoured by the Lord Mayor of Coventry as part of a civic reception on the 6th June, the same day as the annual Peace Picnic.
In a personal letter to Dennis, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“As we mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings, it is fitting to recognise your extraordinary work educating others on this important day in history and keeping the memory of those who served our country alive. Through ‘Normandy Day UK’, you are helping us understand how we can all work together to tackle intolerance and discrimination, and promote peace and reconciliation in our communities.”
“It is a great honour to receive the Point of Light Award from the Prime Minister. I accept it with real pride and on behalf of Normandy Day UK and the volunteers who have been so supportive and helped realise the dream of a Peace Orchard in Coventry.”
Pictured below: photograph of Dennis as a young member of the Armed Forces at the time of the Second World War, and with medals from his time of service. Pictured above: Dennis in Normandy (credit Alison Baskerville).