Meet Pascal Avry, quality controller at Opinel. The person who came up with the idea of a knife to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Normandy landings...

Pascal Avry

Can you introduce yourself in a few words? 


After 25 years in the armed forces as a load master, centre commander, instructor, etc., I decided to join the civilian ranks as a sales representative, estate agent or shopkeeper, and I wound up working for Opinel. 

My life's journey has been full of twists and turns, but that's what suits me, because I love adventure and new experiences, and I've found the change very enriching on a personal level. 

When did you join Opinel? 

I joined Opinel on 1 June 2019 as an operator in the grinding workshop. 

What does your job entail? 

Today, I work in the quality department at Opinel and I check all the elements that make up the knife range: the blades, the wood, the storage boxes and, of course, the finished products. 

What made you want to work at Opinel? 

The teamwork and team spirit, because that's one of the things that reminds me of my work in the army. 

When you travel the world, you realise that the Opinel brand is everywhere: in shops, homes, B&Bs, etc. 

Now I'm really proud to work for Opinel! 

It was you who came up with the idea of making a knife for the 80th anniversary of the Normandy landings. Where did the inspiration come from? 

I knew that Opinel had already produced a series of No. 08s on the 50th anniversary of D-Day, so it seemed only natural that I should use my time at Opinel to propose the idea to management. 

I've been passionate about this part of history since I was 10!  

Were you able to oversee the process of creating the knife?

Yes, absolutely! First, I proposed the idea for the knife. 

Then I was able to see the project unfold from A to Z, following every step of the creative process. 

Did you give your opinion on the choice of colours and designs? 

Yes, I had the idea for the khaki N°08 with a black blade, and over several meetings we decided to launch another series with sand-coloured knives. 


But we mustn't forget that the D-Day landings were an airborne operation, so I came up with the idea of engraving parachutes on the black blade.

Are all the items in the photos yours? 

Yes! The rifle, the uniform, the water bottle, the panniers: it's all mine! 

Being an enthusiast through and through, I also own the Jeep Willis. 

I offered to pose for the photos because it's a real honour for me! I'm very happy with the result, which I think is very professional and reflects the spirit of this very special series. 

All D-Day anniversaries are important, but why did you want to mark the 80th? 

The 80th anniversary is particularly significant because there are no French survivors of the D-Day landings alive today. 

Nevertheless, there are still some survivors from the aftermath of D-Day. 

Also, I'm about to turn 60, so I wanted to take this moment to christen my Jeep while paying tribute to the 80th anniversary. 

Can you describe these two knives in 3 words? 

Sacrifice, tribute and remembrance

Which is your favourite Opinel knife? 

I have several, but if I have to choose, it has to be my knife, the D-Day N°08.