Saturday, December 09, 2006

The D-day beaches

This is the last photo of England for a while. We were sitting at Dover waiting to board the Speedferries ship to return to France. We decided to turn right when we got to the other side and have a look at the D-day beaches.
The first place we got to, after and overnight stay in Caen, was this war cemetery. There were graves of hundreds of men, mostly British and Canadian, but a few Germans too. Walking around was a very moving experience as many were no older than 22. This is a place that the US and British leaders should have visited before they decided to start the war in Iraq.
All along the beaches were reminders of what had happened in 1944, this was Jumo beach where the Canadians landed.
And this was the first house liberated on mainland Europe, by the Canadian troops. The French people do not forget the sacrifice that was made all those years ago.
This bunker was just along the beach from the house pictured above and would have been a first objective for the invading allies.
A few miles further on this bunker shows how the massive weight of the structure has been undermined by the shifting sand dunes. Nature always wins in the end.
There is a fantastic museum dedicated to the Canadian troops who fought for this area. We did not have much time in the museum, but were happy to pay the entrance fee even for a little look as we felt we were doing something for its upkeep.
A few miles further on were the remains of the floating harbour that was towed into place in 1944.
Another view of the same floating harbour. I understand that these bits of concrete were made in the UK and floated into position before being sunk.
What did impress me was the way everything was preserved. We will return on the bikes next year and spend a week or two having a better look around.


At 10:03 pm, Blogger Fran├žois said...

Hi Bob,

good to see you made it back to France again ;-)

Normandy is 'special' eh? Have a look at one of my trips this year: You'll find the Normandy threads a little down the list.

I am now organizoing guided tours to the area, hoping to get a few customers next year. I have been fascinated by D-Day and all that went on around it since I was a kid.

Unfortunately more and more of the silent winesses are disappearing..... and in the end people WILL forget (yes, looking at Iraq, they already HAVE !).

Loved the piccies around Oxford too. I worked for a company in Oxford for the past 20 years, visited there often and even lived in town for half a year.

We will put our house in Holland up for sale early next year.... here's hoping we'll get a good rpice, if at all ;-)


At 10:19 pm, Blogger madman said...

Thanks Francois, will look at your site soon. You are correct in that people will forget what happened in 1944, our leaders already have!
I found it quite amazing that world history tells of how the US won the second world war, when the majority of war graves were from the UK and Canada. At least the French recognise the sacrifice made by ALL nations.
I am sure that your tour venture will be successful as the area is so interesting that we will go back on the bikes next May.


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