Thousands of soldiers parachuting in the middle of the night into the hedgerows and wetlands of the Cherbourg peninsula, thousands more landing on the beaches as the sun rose… This was D-Day, 6th June 1944, the day that the whole of Europe had been awaiting with such hope and trepidation.
In the small hours of the morning, the inhabitants of the quiet market town of Sainte-Mère-Eglise were out in the main square, helping extinguish a fire in one of the houses, when the first Americans started falling out of the sky. A few hours later, Brigadier-General Theodore Roosevelt Junior led his men onto the Normandy beach code-named Utah…
We will visit these two sites and after lunch, move on to the Pointe du Hoc, where on D-Day the Rangers so famously scaled the cliffs to neutralise a German gun battery position. Then on to Omaha Beach itself, where at 6.30 a.m. General Huebner’s men climbed out of their landing craft to cross the sands in the face of incessant fire coming from the German positions on the high ground in front of them.
Our day will end with a visit to the extraordinarily moving Normandy American Cemetery of Colleville-sur-Mer, directly overlooking Bloody Omaha where so many of those buried in the cemetery actually fell.