|Just one of the 18 Commonwealth War Graves cemeteries in Normandy|
6th June 2019, D-Day 75 years onToday 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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|Inside German bunker, Normandy|
We will remember them
|Ruins of German bunker, Normandy|
This post has been linked to Lou Messugo's #AllAboutFrance