Thursday, June 6, 2019

6th June 2019, D-Day 75

French Village Diaries D-Day 75th anniversary 6th June 2019
Just one of the 18 Commonwealth War Graves cemeteries in Normandy

6th June 2019, D-Day 75 years on

Today marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day, or Operation Overlord, a massive 7000 vessel seaborne invasion by the Allied Forces on the beaches of Normandy that marked the beginning of the liberation of Europe and the end of the Second World War.

French Village Diaries D-Day 75th anniversary 6th June 2019
Pegasus Bridge, Normandy, D-Day remembered 75 years on
Over 150,000 British, American and Canadian troops landed on an 80km stretch of coastline at Utah Beach, Omaha Beach, Gold Beach, Juno Beach and Sword Beach with bicycles, bulldozers, tanks, jeeps and trucks, as well as over 11,000 aircraft to support them. By 11th June over 300,000 troops and 54,000 vehicles had landed in France. This still remains the largest military invasion and even today these are huge numbers to comprehend as are the number of lives lost. 

French Village Diaries D-Day 75th anniversary 6th June 2019
Landing craft bulldozer as used by my Dad's cousin Cyril, aged 19
In our current troubled political times, with radical nationalism on the rise, never has the message of world peace and unity, remembered with the commemoration of D-Day, seemed so important. In the memory of those who died for our freedom, we must never again let a war on this scale become a possibility.

French Village Diaries D-Day 75th anniversary 6th June 2019
Memorial in Arromanches, Normandy
With Ed, aged 18, now a similar age to many of the troops who landed on D-Day, watching the footage on the television this morning it feels more poignant than ever before. My Dad’s cousin Cyril was only 19 when he was one of the first to land on Gold Beach on D-Day. He was driving a bulldozer that was used to search for mines and then to help push the landing craft back into the sea, living on the beach for around eight weeks. I cannot imagine the horrific sights he must have seen in that time and certainly don’t want Ed to experience anything like that, ever. Miraculously Cyril survived and spent the rest of the War in France, Belgium and Holland and returned to Normandy many times over the years, with his family, for the commemorations.

French Village Diaries D-Day 75th anniversary 6th June 2019
German bunker, Normandy D-Day remembered 75 years on

My Granddad Albert, although not part of the D-Day landings, was also in France for about three years during the Second World War, where he served in the Royal Artillery. He would have been 36 years old at the time of the landings and had a wife and young family at home. Details about his time in the War are sketchy, but he was certainly part of the liberation and repatriation teams working in France, Belgium and Germany and we have a very fragile flag that was given to him by a grateful French villager as they passed through – or so the family story goes. 


French Village Diaries D-Day 75th anniversary 6th June 2019
Inside German bunker, Normandy
We will remember them

French Village Diaries D-Day 75th anniversary 6th June 2019
Ruins of German bunker, Normandy



This post has been linked to Lou Messugo's #AllAboutFrance

Lou Messugo

6 comments:

  1. It makes it all the more emotional when you have a son the same age doesn't it? Amazing that you have such a close link to the D-Day landings, and so true what you say about these troubled times right now. The rise of the Far Right is so worrying. Thanks for linking up to #AllAboutFrance

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    1. Thanks Phoebe. Worrying times indeed especially despite all my French friends here in the village as upset about brexit as we are, Marine lePen's party won the majority of votes in the village in the EU elections.

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  2. Reading accounts like this, about family members who were part of the operation and the war itself, really brings home the enormity of it all. #allaboutfrance

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    1. Thanks Trish, now there are so few veterans left, we must never forget the sacrifice they made.

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  3. I have sons too, and at this very frightening political time in Europe, it is so important to value and remember what has happened in the past. #AllAboutFrance

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    1. I couldn't agree more, very worrying about where we are heading.

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