Almost 1,500 handmade soldier silhouettes which will pay tribute to British servicemen on the 80th anniversary of D-Day have started their journey to Normandy.

The statues, created by Witney artist Dan Barton and the Standing With Giants creative team at his workshop in Stanton Harcourt, will travel from Blenheim Palace to Portsmouth in a four-lorry convoy today.

The carrying crates and plinths in which they will be stored for the journey are “an art installation in themselves”, Mr Barton said.

Oxford Mail: Dan Barton, of Standing With Giants, in his workshop in Oxford where more than 200 silhouettes of

Some 22,000 poppies crocheted by Women’s Institute members from across the country will be displayed around the base of the crates.

READ MORE: Oxford MPs asked whether UK should end arms sales to Israel

Each one represents a serviceman under British command who died in the Battle of Normandy.

The convoy will stop in Portsmouth before taking the overnight ferry to France and continue their journey to the British Normandy Memorial in Ver-sur-Mer where the installation will be set up.

It is expected to take a team of 20 to 30 people about 15 days to complete the huge installation which will cover an area of approximately 38,000 square metres between the British Normandy Memorial and Gold Beach. 

The For Your Tomorrow installation will be on display as part of the D-Day 80 commemorations until the end of August.

“It’s been a once-in-a-lifetime privilege to be able to do this, and seeing everyone come together and work together has been so humbling,” Mr Barton said.

“It was four years ago when I knew I wanted to do something for the 80th anniversary.

"I decided the best way to show what I wanted to do was to do it by example, and so I started gathering materials to begin making the components.”

Oxford Mail: Women’s Institute members across the country crocheted 22,000 poppies will be displayed around

Mr Barton approached the Normandy Memorial Trust about a year ago to pitch the idea for an art installation.

He said the idea had the support of Lord Dannatt, chairman of trustees for the British Normandy Memorial, who was “very engaging and inclusive from the get-go, which was wonderful and exactly matched our ethos”.

READ MORE: Wanted stalker goes on the run

The statues have been crafted from more than 25 miles of recycled steel and alloy and decorated with more than £10,500 worth of black paint.

More than 1,000 volunteers and 80 different groups, including teams of Scouts and Guides, have helped with the project.

Each of the 1,475 silhouettes represents a serviceman who died under British command on June 6 1944.

The first major Standing With Giants display was set up in 2019, to commemorate Armistice Day, when the team installed 101 silhouettes on a hill near the M40 in Oxfordshire.