Day 3: British Cemetery, Gold Beach and more
Day 3 of the tour concentrates around Gold Beach. (Another good site for information about the Landing Beaches can be found here)
Soldiers from the 50th Division came ashore opposite la Riviers and le Hamel and by the end of the day some had reached the outskirts of Bayeux. A link had been established with the Canadians from Juno beach.
BayeuxThe Musee de la Bataille de Normandie in Bayeux provides an excellent overview of the battle for Normandy. from June 6th to the end of August 1944.
By Mid-day on the 7th June Bayeux was firmly in the hands of the British and claims to be the first large town in France to be liberated. General De Gaulle, (as Commander in Chief of the Free French Forces represented on D-day by French Commandos who landed on Sword Beach) appeared here some days later to lay claim to be the de facto leader of the French Nation.
Close by, the largest British cemetery in Normandy with over 4500 thousand graves, was visited by Her Majesty the Queen and Heads of the Commonwealth on 6th June 1994 in the presence of numerous veterans of the battle for Normandy.
Port en Bessin
By the evening of 7th June, in the face of determined and well prepared German defence, Commandos who had landed 10 miles away on Gold Beach had taken Port en Bessin on their way to joining forces with the Americans from Omaha Beach to the West.
This threatened the invasion fleet off Omaha and Gold Beaches and was the scene of a formidable battle of field and marine artillery.
Arromanches, the site of the Mulberry harbour and the museum which is a must visit.
Above Arromanches to the East by the prominent statue of the Virgin are the remains of fortifications and here there is an orientation table and the 360 cinema. A free road train will transport you from the town to the cliff top
This is the focus of Gold Beach and includes a museum dedicated to it. The Mont Feury Battery behind Gold Beach was a major obstacle to the progress of the Green Howards ( an infantry regiment of the British Army) but was taken single handedly by Stanley Hollis (Victoria Cross) in a remarkably story. There is a memorial to the Green Howards at Crepon and several others in small towns around the area.