World War 1 & World War 2 Battlefields and Remembrance
World War One and Two Battlefields Itinerary
Here is a list of some of the key places we will visit during our 4 days.
The Dunkirk evacuation, code-named Operation Dynamo, also known as the Miracle of Dunkirk, was the evacuation of Allied soldiers during World War II from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk, in the north of France, between 26 May and 4 June 1940. The operation commenced after large numbers of Belgian, British, and French troops were cut off and surrounded by German troops during the six-week long Battle of France. In a speech to the House of Commons, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill called this "a colossal military disaster", saying "the whole root and core and brain of the British Army" had been stranded at Dunkirk and seemed about to perish or be captured. In his "we shall fight on the beaches" speech on 4 June, he hailed their rescue as a "miracle of deliverance".
Located 5 km from Saint-Omer (Nord-Pas-de-Calais), is one of the most impressive remnants of the Second World War in Europe. It is a symbolic place of the Nazi oppression, due to its overwhelming mass, the nature of its underground facilities and the suffering of the slave labourers who built it.This huge bunker, built by the Todt Organisation in 1943-1944 had to be the base for launching the V2 rockets against London. Developed in the ultra-secret Peenemünde centre by Von Braun's team, these missiles, along with the American atomic bomb, were the most innovative devices developed during World War II. The V2s were mass-produced by deportees from the Dora concentration camp in the underground factory "Mittelwerk", located at the heart of Germany.
The Lochnagar mine south of the village of La Boisselle in the Somme département was an underground explosive charge, secretly planted by the British during the First World War, ready for 1 July 1916, the first day on the Somme.
Somme 1916 Museum
Located in the centre of Albert, a town which is the symbol of the 1st World War, this museum goes back over the soldiers' life in the trenches during the offensive of 1 July 1916. There are about 15 alcoves and display cases in a 230 metre-long underground that was used as an air-raid shelter during World War Two.
The memorial commemorates more than 72,000 men of British and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave, the majority of whom died during the Somme offensive of 1916.On the high ground overlooking the Somme River in France, where some of the heaviest fighting of the First World War took place, stands the Thiepval Memorial. Towering over 45 metres in height, it dominates the landscape for miles around. It is the largest Commonwealth memorial to the missing in the world.
Vimy Memorial Park
One of the places to see preserved First World War trenches is at the Vimy Memorial Park in northern France. The trenches on the Vimy Ridge preserve a short section of the Allied Front Line and the German Front Line, with a few metres of No-Mans-Land in between them. This was the position of the two Front Lines on this part of the Vimy Ridge at the time of the launch of the Allied offensive as the Battles of Arras in April and May 1917.
Normandy American Cemetery
The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in France is located in Colleville-sur-Mer, on the site of the temporary American St. Laurent Cemetery, established by the U.S. First Army on June 8, 1944 as the first American cemetery on European soil in World War II. The cemetery site, at the north end of its half mile access road, covers 172.5 acres and contains the graves of more than 9,380 military dead, most of whom lost their lives in the D-Day landings and ensuing operations.
Omaha, Sword, Gold, Utah and Juno
Drive along the coast to see the beaches of the D Day invasions.The Allies had divided the 60-mile coastal stretch chosen for the invasion into five sectors, codenamed Sword, Juno, Gold, Omaha and Utah. On the eastern side, British forces were predominant at Sword and Gold, while Canadians led at Juno. Out west at Omaha and Utah, it was American forces who landed. See the remains of the Mulberry harbour and stand on the beaches to get an idea of the scale and sacrifice.
On the night of 5 June 1944, a force of 181 men, led by Major John Howard, took off from RAF Tarrant Rushton in Dorset, southern England in six Horsa gliders to capture Pegasus Bridge, and also "Horsa Bridge", a few hundred yards to the east, over the Orne River. The force was composed of D Company (reinforced with two platoons of B Company), 2nd Battalion, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry; 20 sappers of the Royal Engineers of 249 Field Company (Airborne); and men of the Glider Pilot Regiment. The object of this action was to prevent German armour from crossing the bridges and attacking the eastern flank of the landings at Sword Beach.
Five of the Ox and Bucks's gliders landed as close as 47 yards from their objectives from 16 minutes past midnight. The attackers poured out of their battered gliders, completely surprising the German defenders, and took the bridges within 10 minutes. They lost two men in the process, Lieutenant Den Brotheridge and Lance corporal Fred Greenhalgh..
The Utah Beach Landing Museum
Built on the very beach where the first American troops landed on June 6, 1944, the Utah Beach Museum recounts the story of D-Day in 10 sequences, from the preparation of the landing, to the final outcome and success. This comprehensive chronological journey immerses visitors in the history of the landing through a rich collection of objects, vehicles, materials, and oral histories.
Caen is a port city and capital of Calvados department in northern France's Normandy region. Its center features the Château de Caen, a circa-1060 castle built by William the Conqueror. It stands on a hill flanked by the Romanesque abbeys of Saint-Étienne and Sainte-Trinité, which both date from the same period. The multimedia Mémorial museum is devoted to World War II, the 1944 Battle of Normandy and the Cold War.
The Bayeux Tapestry is an embroidered cloth nearly 70 metres long and 50 centimetres tall, which depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England concerning William, Duke of Normandy, and Harold, Earl of Wessex, later King of England, and culminating in the Battle of Hastings.