Prince William got to pay honor to one of the United Kingdom’s true war heroes as he unveiled a statue dedicated to Major Frank Foley on Tuesday, reported BBC.
With the statue draped in the Union Jack, the flag of the U.K., William was able to speak to the gathered crowd at Mary Stevens Park in Stourbridge, which included members of Foley’s family and those he rescued from the Holocaust, secreting them away to Britain.
A spy with the British intelligence agency, MI6, during the second world war, Foley worked undercover in Nazi Germany posing as a passport control officer. It was there that Foley gave out visas to Jewish Germans and refugees from across Europe, going against the Nazi’s racial laws. Foley’s work saved the lives of more than 10,000 people fleeing the country as the Holocaust raged.
MI6 described Foley as “a true British hero” and that he “did not carry out his work for personal gain.”
In the audience at the ceremony was Foley’s great-nephew Stephen Higgs, who called the unveiling a “hugely proud moment for his family.”
One of the survivors that was helped by Foley, Michael Mamelok, found the ceremony moving, thanking the former spy for what he did to get his family to safety, resulting in Mamelok producing 17 descendants, many of whom were in attendance.
The Duke unveils the statue of Major Frank Foley pic.twitter.com/o63SI4dfcq— Dayna Farrington (@DaynaF_Star) September 18, 2018
Prior to revealing the statue to Foley, the Duke of Cambridge spent an hour meeting with Foley’s family and Holocaust survivors helped by Foley, spending time hearing their stories and tales of what Foley did for so many people, reported the Express and Star.
The statue was designed by a Birmingham artist, Andy DeCornyn, and is a life-size depiction of Foley sitting on a bench in the park near his retirement home. Foley is depicted as he would have been while doing his work, in a suit and with a briefcase. The artist also had Foley feeding a bird, which symbolizes the freedom he gave to so many.
Before attending the ceremony to honor Foley, Prince William visited the University of Birmingham, attending the National SkillForce graduation ceremony. William gave the keynote speech at the graduation for the program, which is designed to build the character and confidence of young people.
The day also included a special visit for William, who visited the Acorns Children’s Hospice to help celebrate its 30th anniversary. The hospice holds a special place for William as it was opened by his mother Princess Dianna in 1988.
The hospice was phenomenally honored to have the prince visiting, saying that the visit “means more than we can say.”