Tag Archives: normandy tourist board

Allen Withington, 47 Royal Marine Commando Association

Allen Withington is a member of the 47 Royal Marine Commando Association.

On the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the Association retraced the Commando’s route and told the story of their mission as well as the courageous actions of the French community who helped them.

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#DDay70 veteran Albert Figg

In February 1939, aged 18, Albert Figg joined the Royal Artillery T A in Swindon Wiltshire.

On June 20th 1944, Albert was sent to Normandy where he supported the infantry offensive during the Battle for Hill 112.

The operation was code-named Operation Jupiter and over 18 days Albert’s troops fired 60,000 shells out of 24 guns before the Allies broke through German lines.

In the video below Albert explains why the Battle for Hill 112 was so important.

In the second video Albert further describes the fierce combat and amount of ammunition fired.

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Europe, the Wehrmacht and USSR

“The war against Russia will be such that it cannot be conducted in a knightly fashion. This struggle is one of ideologies and racial differences and will have to be conducted with unprecedented, unmerciful and unrelenting harshness.”

– Adolf Hitler March, 1941

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen visiting Normandy it is important to pay your respects to the French, British, Polish, Canadian and American forces who were involved in the Battle of Normandy and the D-Day landings. However, it is also important to remember those who lost their lives elsewhere during the Second World War. Of course, this is all stuff you have learned at senior school or “high school” (for those of you who are joining us from across the pond!), but I was surprised at how much I didn’t know… or have forgotten since I dug out my History 101 textbook.

For example, the Wehrmacht attacked the USSR in the summer of 1941. By the time the leaves fell, the Germans and their allies (Finland, Hungary, Italy and Romania) were occupying territories just short of Leningrad and Moscow. For Nazi Germany, the invasion was a crucial conquest for vital space, in addition to being an ideological war and an annihilating racial war against the threat of “judeo-bolshevism”.

What really surprised me during my visit to Normandy this year was the number of soldiers and military personnel who came from all corners of the world to visit Normandy to pay their respects. I was touched by this act of affection and appreciation. I was also pleased to see so many young soldiers visiting and taking the time to visit the region. It’s sometimes easy to forget just how many families and individuals were affected by the war and continue to be affected today.


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The Falaise-Chambois Pocket: Abbot Launay

During the battle of the “Falaise-Chambois” pocket, the local priest Abbot Launay attached a sheet to the top of his church spire by way of a white flag. This sheet is now displayed at the Mémorial de Montormel.

His flag proved to be ineffective, so he set out in search of the Allies. When he returned to Tournai with a lone Canadian soldier, they took 300 Germans prisoner in what was to become the courtyard of surrender.

Word spread and in the afternoon, a further 1,500 Germans surrendered on the same spot.

His bravery significantly shortened the battle and consequently saved hundreds of lives.

Follow me on Twitter @AnnieCDarling and use the hashtag #anniesddayblog to share your thoughts, images and videos with me.