Camp 30

Ever hear of Camp 30? If you’re like most Canadians, you’ve probably never heard of the camp that held German POWs near Bowmanville, Ontario from 1941 to 1945. I didn’t know much about it either until I had the opportunity recently to attend a meeting of the Oshawa Shrine Club. Continue Reading →

The Longues-Sur-Mer Battery

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It is not far from Arromanches to the German battery near the coastal village of Longues-sur-Mer. Located between Gold and Omaha beaches, the long-range battery was completed in April 1944 as part of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall and it consists of four 150mm naval guns, a forward command post and several defensive bunkers. Classified today as an historic monument, the battery was designed to defend against Allied incursions in this part of Normandy, and it fired a total of 170 rounds at Allied ships on June 6, 1944 before it was captured by British troops the next day.

Part of Hitler's Atlantic Wall, the Longues-sur-Mer battery consisted of four 150mm navy guns like this one, posing a real threat to the ships taking part in the D-Day landings on June 6th 1944

Part of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall, the Longues-sur-Mer battery consisted of four 150mm navy guns like this one, posing a real threat to the ships taking part in the D-Day landings on June 6th 1944.

All these years later, the battery is still an impressive sight. Several of the guns used on D-Day are still in place within the huge concrete casemates used to protect them. There is evidence on the site of the heavy Allied bombardment sustained prior to the landings. Several of the casements show damage from the air and naval barrage, and the fields surrounding the battery still have numerous shell craters. Along the cliff edge there are several intact machine gun emplacements and ammunition stores, and it was fun for Sonya and I to climb into the bunker and imagine what it must have been like here on that morning not so long ago.

The pictures which follow are from our Normandy Beaches Gallery. Click on any thumbnail below to see the caption and then view the gallery. The entire Normandy Beaches Gallery is available on the Photo Gallery menu.

Arromanches

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Having spent our morning on Juno Beach and at the Juno Beach Centre, the afternoon found us on Gold Beach at Arromanches. It was here that British troops landed during D-Day, and it was here that the Allies constructed a makeshift Mulberry harbour, nicknamed Port Winston, that for six months after D-Day became the busiest port in the world. The artificial port was used to offload the troops, supplies, vehicles and equipment that sustained the Allied push into Europe during the summer of 1944, and it is still considered to be one of the greatest military achievements of all time.

Of course, little of the Mulberry harbour remains visible today. While recent explorations have revealed that much of the original construction remains more or less intact just 5 metres below the surface, (see more HERE), at high tide Sonya and I saw only a few of the remaining breakwaters off the beach at Arromanches.

Overlooking the Normandy coast at Arromanches. Notice the Mulberry breakwaters in the water to the right.

Overlooking the Normandy coast at Arromanches. Notice the Mulberry breakwaters in the water to the right.

The town of Arromanches itself was well prepared for our visit with several on-street displays of military equipment, lots of 70th anniversary D-Day memorabilia, plenty of restaurants and a 360° theatre featuring historical footage shot during the summer of 1944. The film “The Price Of Freedom” impressively mixes archived film from June 1944 with present day pictures and is presented on 9 screens in a circular theater. Of course, for me the audio/visual presentation was the highlight of the afternoon, but it was also lots of fun to see all the military equipment and to browse the shops.

The pictures which follow are from our Normandy Beaches Gallery. Click on any thumbnail below to see the caption and then view the gallery. The entire Normandy Beaches Gallery is available on the Photo Gallery menu.