Tag Archives: dday beaches

The 47 Royal Marine Commando Landing Craft

On D-Day, Maggie and I joined British and French friends and families of the 47 Royal Marine Commando on a 20km walk.

We retraced the route of the 47 Commando who, on the morning of June 6th, 1944, landed on Gold Beach near Asnelles. They went on to walk 20km behind enemy lines in order to liberate Port en Bessin.

When we arrived in Asnelles on the morning of D-Day, we were stunned to find that the 47 Royal Marine Commando were on board a Second World War Landing Craft, and would be re-enacting the landings of 1944.

This was followed by a brief and intimate ceremony for the 47 Royal Marine Commando veterans who landed in Normandy on D-Day.

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The Bayeux War Cemetery

The land on which the Bayeux War Cemetery was founded was given to the UK by France in recognition of the sacrifices made in the defense and liberation of Europe. Last year I visited this Commonwealth war cemetery –  an incredibly moving experience. I was touched by how tranquil and beautiful the place was.

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day, today, a specially crafted ‘Bell of Peace’ will be blessed in an official ceremony at Bayeux Cathedral. Both civilian and inter-religious personalities will be attending along with the bell’s nine godmothers or godfathers of many different nationalities.

From 7pm there will be theatrical visits of the Bayeux hospital centre where young actors will perform regularly until the end of July. Bayeux was not bombed but the village’s schools were turned into makeshift hospitals.

As if there wasn’t already lots going on here, at 9pm, 45 choir singers from Arizona’s Sonoran Desert Chorale will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day Landings in the ‘Gratitude and Peace Concert’. The choir is one of the best in the Southern Western United States and through their music, hope to express their hope for a more peaceful world.

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The Gold Beach bunker

A couple of nights ago, Maggie and I drove through Arromanches before we noticed the most spectacular sunset. Despite the cold, Maggie pulled over and we managed to take a few snaps for you to look through.

While photographing this amazing sky, we found a bunker only feet away!

Last year, a local woman told me that when she was young she and her friends were told stories about how teenage boys would go diving off the shores of Arromanches to retrieve alcohol that sunk to the seafloor on D-Day!

Longues-sur-Mer battery

Last year, Kate and I visited Longues-sur-Mer with an American tour group. Just outside of Arromanches enroute to Bayeux, if you’re in the area, stop off to take a look for the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

I’d done some research about the battery and so I was excited to be going. Longues-sur-Mer battery was built as part of the German Atlantic Wall and boasts four massive navy guns – a very impressive sight. The scale of the guns really brought home the terror and destruction that they could cause. Each of the guns are protected by a 3-metre thick concrete casemate and has its own command post, shelters for personnel and ammunition storage.

This battery was a coastal fortification that had hardly been damaged by the allied bombing prior to D-Day. Looking at the thick concrete, it’s not hard to understand why. Being still intact when D-Day arrived, Longues-sur-Mer wrecked havoc on Omaha and Gold beach.

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