The 80th anniversary of D-Day is to be marked with a major new exhibition at the Green Howards Museum in Richmond.

Focusing on the extraordinary contribution of the 2,000 Green Howards who landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944, the exhibition will bring to life the heroic individual stories of soldiers who contributed towards the momentous victory, including that of Private Ken Cooke, one of the last surviving veterans of the D-Day landings.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Steve Erskine with Ken Cooke: Green Howards Museum Specialist Researcher Steve Erskine with 98 year old Pte Ken Cooke, one of the last surviving D-Day veterans, who landed in Normandy on 6th June 1944 with 7th Battalion Green Howards.

At an exclusive private viewing to be held on the evening of Friday, May 10, the guests will include museum trustees, local councillors and Baroness Brenda Hale, who is also a Green Howards Museum trustee.

Tours, talks and an exclusive behind-the-scenes-view of the new exhibition, along with the story of its painstaking creation and its remarkable artefacts, will all be part of the evening, including a special nod to the Stan Hollis VC, which is on permanent display at the museum.

His granddaughter, Amanda Hart, will be the museum’s special guest at the official opening. Stan, from Middlesbrough, received the only Victoria Cross awarded on D-Day, having single-handedly charged a pill box from which a machine gun was being fired at his company, and later the same day saved two comrades who were trapped by the enemy.

Darlington and Stockton Times: The Green Howards Museum's new D-Day exhibition celebrating the Green Howards who served on D-Day 6th June 1944

His story is amongst many whose individual tales of heroism will be retold in the exhibition.

The museum’s head of collections, Zoe Utley, said: “We’re very excited to be welcoming Stan’s granddaughter, Amanda Hart, as our special guest at the official opening of the exhibition. Amanda is a great advocate for the legacy of her grandfather and an extraordinary link to Green Howards’ history. It’s an honour to be welcoming her on behalf of her grandfather.”

Darlington and Stockton Times: The VC awarded to CSM Stan Hollis. His VC citation reads: 'Wherever the fighting was heaviest, CSM Hollis appeared and, in the course of a magnificent day's work, he displayed the utmost gallantry, and on two separate occasions his courage and

The new exhibition opens to the public on Monday, May 6, and marks the start of a series of special D-Day events that the museum will be hosting, beginning with an evening in conversation with actor and historian Matthew Leitch (Band of Brothers) on June 4, followed by the official exhibition launch on May 10.

Plans are already underway for the D-Day anniversary on June 6, which will start with a service of remembrance at The Green Howards Memorial on Frenchgate, Richmond, at 6.30am.

Guided tours, talks and a special artefact handling session (already sold out) will follow, along with a series of family-friendly Troop Briefings for all exhibition visitors, an exclusive book launch, family history drop-in days and further talks running throughout the summer until the exhibition closes on December 20.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Children learning about the Green Howards in the museu

Underlining the vast level of research and expertise that has gone into creating the exhibition by staff and volunteers, museum CEO, Emma Woods said: “The D-Day Exhibition is the result of many months of work by our head of collections, Zoe Utley, our specialist researcher, Steve Erskine, and our amazing team of volunteers who research and piece together individual accounts of bravery.

"The D-Day narratives told in the exhibition – which are often heart-wrenching stories of courage and self-sacrifice in the face of extreme challenges – are a huge part of both the Green Howards’ history and the wider involvement of our armed forces on June 6, 1944. It’s an honour to pay tribute to those who gave so much.”

Darlington and Stockton Times: The Green Howards Museum Specialist Researcher, Steve Erskine, at his desk in the Research Room

Located in the old Trinity Church in Richmond’s Market Place, the museum is a charitable trust committed to conserving 300 years of Green Howards military history and providing a continuing, accessible narrative of its past.

Based locally in Richmond Castle and then in the barracks on Barrack Hill (now The Garden Village), the Green Howards served in every major conflict around the world, including the Crimean War, First and Second World Wars, and more recently, the Gulf War.

See throughout 2024 for further information on exhibitions, tours, talks, workshops and family-friendly events.