Reflections from Normandy: Part 2 – Juno Beach

The three beaches attacked by the British and Canadian troops on June 6th 1944

The three beaches attacked by British and Canadian troops on June 6th 1944

Drive a little further down the D514 and one is in Saint Aubin sur Mer, another sleepy seaside town where once the Canadian regiments fought their way ashore with support from the Royal Marines. This is the smallest of all the sectors of the Normandy beachhead in 1944 and a combination of rough weather and heavy defensive fire held the troops off the coast for some time before they could get to shore.

Juno Beach retains a proud affinity with the Canadian troops who landed here

Behind the seafront, once again, more re-enactors were to be found in their assembled Jeeps and trucks, emerging from their Government Issue tents to greet the day and be off to wherever their schedules were taking them for the day.

The ‘military’ camp at Juno Beach empties out for another day of re-enactment

Far and away the tallest monument standing in Normandy is that which marks the spot on which Général Charles de Gaulle disembarked on Juno Beach. On June 14th 1944. Ah, politicians…

Looking up from the shoreline to the de Gaulle memorial

In nearby Courseulles sur Mer there is a permanent museum to those Canadian troops who took part in the D-Day landings, nestled in a picturesque and busy little port. Approaching from the east one is confronted by this particular piece of hardware, which offers a salutary reminder of the violence involved in the assault.

Damage to the cannon – this was not a healthy place to be in 1944

The Juno Beach area offers a vast array of memorials, vantage points and adventurous walks. It’s a sector of the landings that can take whole days to cover fully – and whether rain or shine it’s a bracing landscape. Here are some more views:

Juno Beach tribute to the logistics of invasion

Juno Beach memorial

A Churchill AVRE tank nestled in the dunes at Brèche de Graye. This tank served with the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, and was given a new coat of paint for the 70th anniversary

Blasted-out ruins merging with the scenery – what will be made of this in 70 years’ time?

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