Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019
Our first stop today was Sword Beach. The British objective here was to capture the port city of Caen.
We toured the beach with the flame memorial. It was a good place to walk and reflect.
It’s incredible what relics that have been found from D-Day that the French and other countries and groups have preserved and kept as part of our WWII history!
The Pegasus Bridge and Museum was our next stop.
The original Pegasus Bridge is shown below!
We drove over the newer bridge that replaced the original bridge which is now in the museum that we are visiting.
The town people wanted the new bridge to be very much like the old bridge that existed in WWII. The bridge crosses the Caen Canal. During WWII the Allied troops wanted to get control of this bridge and it was a main objective of the British Airborne troops on D-day. These paratroopers came in on gliders, same as our father with the 82nd Airborne. The bridge was renamed in 1944, the Pegasus Bridge in honor of the Operation Pegasus. The Pegasus was a shoulder emblem worn by the British Airborne forces, which is the flying horse, Pegasus!
Juno Beach was our stop after the Pegasus Bridge.
It was originally called Jelly Beach but it has been told that Churchill thought that name was not appropriate for a beach on which many men might die. He insisted that the code name be more dignified, hence Juno!
We saw an excellent movie about D-Day there. The guide at the Juno Beach Center was named Vincent. He is Canadian and this is the beach the Canadians stormed. There were 1,200 casualties out of 21, 400 Canadians that landed at Juno that day.
Our guide Vincent took us on a tour through the remains of the Atlantic Wall, recounting the history of the D-Day landings. We saw the command post of 1941, to the observation bunker built just before the D-Day invasion. You can only tour the Observation bunker and the German Command Post if you are on the tour!
We finished our tour on the beach itself.
We then went to Gold Beach where we saw footage of the D-Day invasion on a 360° screen. Arromanches 360 movie is shown on nine screens. It shows archival footages collected from around the world that tell the story of the 100 days of the Battle of Normandy.
Our lunch was overlooking Gold Beach and it was delicious.
We also had time to explore the town of Arromanches-les- Bains.
Gold Beach is one of the beaches that became a portable harbor called Mulberry Harbor.
This portable harbor was brought over from England to be put in place! The port was to be temporary but ended up being used for five months! The Arromanches Mulberry Harbor became known as Port Winston, after Winston Churchill. We learned that 2.5 million men, 500,000 vehicles and 4 million tons of supplies arrived using Port Winston.
More pictures of the beach with remnants of the Mulberry Harbor are below.
The D-Day 75 Garden was gifted by the UK veterans to the town of Arromanches, Normandy on June 6, 2019! It was first on display at the Royal Hospital Chelsea during their flower show. It celebrates the lives of its Normandy veterans.
Our last stop today was to visit part of the Atlantic Wall at Longues-Sur-Mer German Battery. There were four casemates with the original German cannons still in place. They were built between Gold and Omaha Beaches and shelled both of these beaches. This battery was captured on the day after D-Day, June 7th, 1944.
From the German casemates you can walk a short distance toward the forward outpost. This outpost gave the German commanders a perfect view of the Atlantic. We were able to explore it.
Other views from the area around the casemates and the outpost.
This was another special exhibit that was placed for the 75th D-Day anniversary. This display talked about the archeology of D-Day.
The temperature was over 100° and mostly sunny! Another memorable day that was full of history!
12,565 steps, 4.96 miles and 4 flights