William unveils statue in honour of British Holocaust hero Frank Foley
The Duke of Cambridge has unveiled a statue of a war hero in front of Holocaust survivors and members of the man’s family in what they described as a “huge honour”.
William arrived in Stourbridge for his final West Midlands engagement on Tuesday after visiting the University of Birmingham and Acorns Children’s Hospital.
He unveiled a statue in memory of Major Frank Foley, widely regarded as one of the UK’s greatest “heroes of the Holocaust”, in front of a small audience at Mary Stevens Park.
The prince met members of Mr Foley’s family, Holocaust survivors and members of the public as he arrived at the park, shaking hands with people who had lined the park paths to catch a glimpse of him.
Before the uneviling ceremony, Michael Mamelok, one of the survivors who managed to flee Berlin thanks to the efforts of MI6 officer Maj Foley, told the prince his story as William sat among his family.
Speaking to the Press Association about what the day meant to him, Mr Mamelok said: “I’m here to honour this great man who saved my life. My daughter wouldn’t be here today – there have been 17 children directly descended from me which wouldn’t be here.”
Asked about the prince’s involvement in the ceremony, he said: “It’s an honour for him to come here and unveil Foley’s statue, and I’m delighted to be here to view that.”
The ceremony in Maj Foley’s town of retirement, Stourbridge, is the result of a campaign by the Holocaust Educational Trust and Dudley North MP Ian Austin in recognition of his work from the British embassy in Berlin, saving thousands of Jewish people from persecution in Nazi Germany.
William then sat with members of Maj Foley’s family and discussed his officer’s life.
Stephen Higgs, a great-nephew of Maj Foley, said: “We’re obviously hugely proud and honoured that His Royal Highness has come to unveil the statue.
“This is a memorable day that I shall forever remember. I think the other important thing is his presence here today means that this event gets a very wide audience.
“We are honoured that the Duke of Cambridge is attending today’s ceremony, which could not have come at a better time, given the ongoing discussions around anti-Semitism in British political discourse today.”
Before leaving the West Midlands, William walked down the line of crowds, shook hands and waved to those who turned out to see him.
Cries of “William, welcome to Stourbridge!” and “We love you William!” rang out as he left Mary Stevens Park.