|The original Pegasus Bridge in the Museum grounds|
The building is shaped to look like the Parachute Regiment's cap badge and contains high quality exhibits of British Para uniforms and equipment. In the centre of the museum is a scale (approx 15cm/mile) model of the entire right flank of the Overlord landings. A staff member talked us through the entire operation of night of the 5/6th June 1944 befgore we watched a 15minute film.
Outside there was the original bridge displayed with a replica Horsa Glider.
|Full size replica Horsa Glider|
|The bridge sides display various bullet & shell splinter grazes|
|Example Bailey Bridge|
|Various Military vehicles resided in the grounds. Amongst them were a 40mm Bofors Gun, Maxon (4 x 0.50"HMG) turret from a M16 Anti-Aircraft vehicle, an M3 Half-Track, 5.5" Field Gun and a 25pdr Field Gun|
|The new Pegasus Bridge (Now two lanes wide) taken from the area where the first glider landed. Behind the bush is still an emplaced 50mm Anti-Tank Gun.|
|Cafe Gondre viewed from the bridge|
|Greg doing his best to savour his coffee!|
The museum had rather unexpectedly, a C47 Dakota on show amongst the bunkers.
|C47 Skytrain - or as we know it the Dakota|
|One of four completed casemates at Merville|
As we discovered at a number of sites we visited, many of the Normandy strongpoints were not quite completed when the allies invaded. Merville is a case in point, where among the impressive casemates there are still the far simpler concrete lined pits that originally housed the artillery pieces.
|Concrete lined gun pit alongside the new casemate.|
Once we were finished there we doubled back to the CWGC Cemetery at Ranville. Ranville was the epicenter of the 6th Airborne Division's D-Day landings so many of the cemetery's occupants are Paras.
|The tranquil setting of Ranville CWGC alongside the village church and civilian cemetery.|
We saw the graves of Lt. Den Brotheridge, the first British casualty to die at Pegasus Bridge, Pte. Robert Johns, the youngest Para to die (only 16 yrs), Pte. Emil Corteil the para who is buried with his Airborne dog Glen and my Great Uncle Sgt. David McKirdy of 13 Para.
|Greg & I behind David McKirdy's gravestone|
By now it was time to head home so we followed the coast road along firstly Sword beach. Then Juno and finally Gold beach. Along the way we stopped to take a look at a 50mm strongpoint at St Aubin that appears in a famous picture of Juno beach with a crashed P47 amongst the general beach debris.
|50mm Anti-Tank gun emplacement on the sea front at St Aubin. Positioned to provide enfilading fire up and down the sea wall while protected from naval bombardment and direct fire by 3 metres of re-inforced concrete wall that faces the sea!|
|The view from the above gun emplacement later on D-Day itself. The crashed P47 and a destroyed Sherman are in evidence.|
Finally home to the gite for 8pm .......... Now waiting for Dave and James "Come Dine With Me" specials!