Whilst out in France one of things I really wanted to do was to visit sites where my Grandad had been during the D Day Landings on the 6th June 1944. I’ve always been interested in the history of World War 2, and this interest was increased ever more when my Uncle Jeff started researching it many years ago and has since written several books about it that have gone on general release.
I texted my Uncle Jeff to see if he could recommend anywhere we should visit only to be told in his reply that he too would be in France the following day. We arranged to meet up in Arromanches at 10am on the Wednesday morning and there began a very memorable day. Along with Anne and my Aunty Janet, we visited several locations throughout the day where my Grandad Fred would have been and significant fights would have occured. In a word it was FANTASTIC! To visit locations such as Omaha Beach, which is where the film saving Private Ryan is based, Juno Beach and many more, with the information that my Uncle Jeff was able to pass on was just unbelievable; I could really begin to picture what must have been happening and found myself on several occasions just wanting to be quiet and reflect.
One place in particular that made a real impression on me was Pegasus Bridge which spans the Orne Canal near Ouistreham. The story behind what happened there is fascinating. The film ‘The Longest Day’ starring Richard Todd, is an account of how the British Troops led by Major John Howard DSO, captured the Bridge, arriving in gliders in the dark of night.
I could go on and on writing about how special this day was and how I really can’t recommend visiting these historic sights enough. We owe so very much to all those men that fought during that time for it was there bravery that has given us something we should cherish every single day … Freedom!
Uncle Jeff, thankyou so much for sharing your knowledge with us on that day. We are truly grateful and feel more humble than ever having stood where my Grandad and many of his colleagues did as young men fighting for us all.
The photo I’ve attached is a panorama I took, handheld, of the original Pegasus Bridge still carrying the scars from that fateful day. (It consists of 9 photographs that I’ve combined using photoshop)