Arromanches and the D-Day beaches

 

I wonder if you, like me, automatically associate Normandy with World War II?

June 6th 1944

Was the day that Nazi-occupied France was invaded by British, American, Commonwealth and Canadian troops. The result of this enormous operation was the liberation of France.

Until our visit I was unaware of just how big a piece of land there is to cover and just how many monuments, museums and cemeteries there are to visit; so many it’s worth having a holiday just for this remembrance sightseeing tour.

However we managed to slot one beach into our Normandy holiday and we chose to visit Arromanches, the landing of the British troops.

I didn’t know quite what to expect and on our walk from the car park to the beach carrying buckets and spades, I worried that maybe we would be offending someone, after all so many people lost their lives at this very spot.

Fortunately as we turned the corner we were greeted with a beach full of families enjoying the glorious sunshine and lots of children digging holes and constructing palaces. What I hadn’t counted for was this sight waiting for me.

Arromanches normandy

The artificial Mulberry Harbour, a very stark reminder, testament to the ingenuity of Winston Churchill who realised that if the troops wanted to land they would have to bring their own harbour with them.

arromanches normandy

I left the girls and Paul to their busy building and strolled off across the beach to take some photos and see close up the massive hulks of iron strewn across the beach.

arromanches mulberry harbour

I noticed groups of divers jumping into boats, speeding out to see to inspect, who knows?

arromanches normandy

Operation Overlord

was the code name given to the Battle of Normandy. It began in 1943 and was led by General Eisenhower and Montgomery, D-Day was planned for the 5th June (1944) but was delayed for 24 hours due to bad weather, in fact the bad conditions and an attack further up the coast caught the Germans by surprise as at dawn break the Allied fleets landed accompanied by airborne forces from the east and west.

arromanches mulberry harbour

arromanches mulberry harbour

D-Day statistics

4000 ships in the fleet
5,800 bomber planes
4,900 fighter planes
153,000 troops
20,000 vehicles
11,000 casualties
2,500 dead
2,052,299 men came ashore following D-Day
3,098,259 tons of stores
640,000 Germans killed, wounded or taken prisoner in the Battle of Normandy

The town centre is a lively bustling place full of restaurants, bars and souvenir shops too, well worth a visit.

arromanches normandy town

 

Note on the horizon out to see the Mulberry Harbour can be seen

 

arromanches high street

 

American war postcards

american war postcards

 

and back on the beach another operation was also successfully coming to plan. Mission accomplished!

arromanches beach

3 Comments

  1. Mary at Keynko
    September 17, 2013 / 8:24 AM

    It is the most beautiful beach! I spent so many happy childhood holidays there – excellent sand for building. I think those who fought and died would be proud that we could go and spend happy time with our families there – after all that’s freedom they were fighting for! My uncle landed there 3 days after the invasion so it’s a very special place for us as, glad you enjoyed it so much!

  2. September 18, 2013 / 10:06 AM

    Such an interesting place. I totally agree with Mary’s comment below…

  3. September 21, 2013 / 11:00 AM

    Those statistics are terrifying. We just over the water from Dieppe and I keep thinking we’ll go and do this. Thank you for the inspiration and so glad you had a lovely holiday :) x

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