On June 6, 1944, Allied forces landed at beaches along the Normandy coast with code names etched in memory - Utah, Gold, Juno, Sword and Omaha. The loss of lives was great.
Australia lost 25% of all the men in the entire country in the war. It took years of a desperate immigration drive to attract men to start a new life in a new country. The Commonwealth countries all sent men and women to help support England in this war.
The Normandy landings, Code Name: Operation Neptune, began shortly after midnight when 24,000 British, American and Canadian airborne troops set off from England, and 160,000 soldiers in the amphibious landing and allied infantry with armored divisions crossed the English Channel. Thanks to inclement weather, it was a surprise attack. There were 73,000 Americans, 61,000 British, and 21,400 Canadians with 5,000 ships involved.
There is tremendous interest in tours to this part of the world next year, and I am working with three different companies who have great trip itineraries which will take you to sites such as the American Military Cemetery of St. Laurent near Omaha Beach, which has 9,238 white crosses and 149 Star of David, then past the beaches code Juno and Gold to Arromanches.
You can visit the D-Day Invasion Landing Museum and see the remnants of the artificial port in the bay.
Travel back in time to an invasion of a different kind now as you visit the Bayeau Tapestry Museum which chronicles the Norman invasion of Britain in 1066. You follow the route of the Rangers depicted in Saving Private Ryan and visit the bunkers and the Rangers Memorial at Pointe du Hoc.
Do you have a friend or family member who lost their life in this sad time in our history? Many families want to go and visit the cemeteries and learn about what really happened.
There are three tours, all of which will be booked out quickly:
1. Paris and Normandy – 7 night Seine River voyage
2. Normandy, Brittany, Paris and the Loire Valley, 13 days by motor coach
3. Normandy, Brittany and the Loire Valley 9 days by luxury motor coach.
If you are a military history buff, there is also a four day mini trip to see the World War I battlefields of Flanders Fields, the Ypres Salient area, Hill 60, Polygon Wood and Tyne Cot Cemetery. Also on the itinerary is the Australian Cemetery of Fromelles and the Canadian National Memory at Vimy Ridge. You can have a guided tour of the trenches and time in the museum.
You can also take a tour of the key battlefields of the Somme, including the Lochnagar Crater, the South African and New Zealand Memorials at Longueval, Newfoundland Memorial and Museum, and Franco British Memorial at Thiepval.
The tours are guided by experts in history, and knowledgeable about the military battles.
Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister, gave an historic speech which made people proud to be part of the Empire. “We shall not flag or fail, we shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence, and strength in the air, we shall defend our island whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds and we shall fight in the fields and the streets, we shall fight in the hills and shall never surrender”.
My father, a British Army Officer told me, when I was a little girl, England could not have survived without the help of America. I am married to a retired U.S. Marine Colonel and I have thanked him many times for his nation’s help. I would be a different person today if I had grown up on an island which had been occupied.
85% of all accidents happen in the home. You should definitely take a tour. Why not go see an important part of our history.
Maureen Jones is president of All Horizons Travel at 160 Main Street. Members of her staff are experts in business travel, cruises, and all types of leisure.