Saturday 22 June 2002

Normandy - A Trip to the Battlefield - July 2002

During a two week holiday in Calvados, I managed one day on the Normandy Battlefield. The following photographs track our journey from Pegasus Bridge (Assaulted by the British 6th Airbourne Division) through to Arromanches (where the remains of the Mulberry Harbour are still very visible). Our route took us to Colleville-Montgomery, the town where 'Monty' had his headquarters. To 'Sword', La Breche. Then onto 'Juno', Courseulles. Finally 'Gold' at Arromanches. All landing beaches for Second British Army (1 and 3 Corps).

The floating harbour at Arromanches is a 'must' for any visitor to this battlefields. There are a whole line of concrete casements visible on the skyline. The photograph below shows one of these huge structures on the waterline just below the sea wall. I really hadn't appreciated how much there is to see in this small town.

I do not normally dwell in museums. I prefer to 'walk the ground' of a battlefield. However, the museum at Bayeaux (below) is excellent. It is full of marvelous photogaphs many of which I hadn't seen before. Don't forget to visit the Commonwealth war Graves Commission site opposite first.

St James Cemetery is well worth a detour if you ever travel down to Mont St Michel. The German Cemetery at Mont-de-Huisnes near the Mont is readily accessible also.

I feel uneasy about the current state of this battlefield. It is very commercialised with museums everywhere and highly published tourist routes. Places like St Mere Eglise are full of day trippers and rather tacky souvenir shops. However there is plenty of interest to see and all sites are easy to reach.