Monday, 6 June 2011

D Day - 6th June 1944 - a tribute

Today 6th June 2011 marks the 67th Anniversary of D Day when allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy during Operation Overlord.
"At dawn on the 6th June 1944, two Allied armies, one British and one American, landed on the beaches of Normandy in France. It was the largest invasion ever attempted, and its ultimate goal was to secure a foothold in Europe, to defeat Germany and liberate the Continent from Nazi rule. Leading the invasion, landing by parachute and glider, several hours before the first troops assaulted the beaches, were three Airborne Divisions; two were American and landed in the west, the other, the 6th British Airborne Division, landed in the extreme east.

D Day Veteran- Dan Lyons: 6th British Airborne Division
The main tasks of the 6th Airborne Division were as follows:
1. To capture the Bénouville and Ranville Bridges. These strategically vital bridges, if held against counterattack, would not only prevent the Germans from moving decisively against the flank of the British and Canadian seaborne troops as they advanced inland, but they would also enable the Allies to advance eastwards.
2. The destruction of the Merville Battery. Several miles to the north-east of these bridges was an imposing fortification that contained four large calibre guns, which could do terrific damage to the invasion fleet. The 6th Airborne Division had to attack and destroy these guns in the hours before the landings took place. "
Yesterday evening we had the honour of meeting, and paying tribute to, a veteran of the 6th British Airborne Divison who took part in the D Day invasion.
New friends Sue & David Roberts graciously invited us to their annual "Hog Roast" and village party.
The guest of honour, once again this year, was Dan Lyons who was a wireless operater serving with the British 6th Airborne and was dropped by parachute, close to Pegasus Bridge, on the night of 5th June 1944.
Dan and his brother in law John, a British Royal Navy veteran of WWII, accompanied by their sons will be attending several events to commemorate the 67th Anniversary in Normandy.
Dan and John
The weather, which until Saturday had been sunny and warm, turned against the party planners and Sunday dawned wet, cold and windy.
However, our hosts and their team soon put Plan B into operation removing two German anti-aircraft guns from storage in one of the long barns and clearing cobwebs and detritus from nooks and crannies before installing several long tables and many chairs.

The evening was very well attended, residents of the nearby village of Litteau mingled with English and American guests staying at the Manoir, as well as a number of British ex- pats (like us) who live in the area.
The Mayor of Litteau paid a heartwarming tribute to the veterans, which was heartily endorsed by all those present.

Besides the excellent roasted hog with all the trimmings our convivial hosts also laid on an open bar and live music for dancing, parfait!


  1. When I was growing up, June 6th, or the Sunday closest to it, was always noted. Canadians stormed the beaches, fighting under British commanders but within their own regiments. The horror and the bravery of the day is a matter of history now, but how fitting that you, in Normandy, could remember the day with two veterans.
    I looked at the Manoir - gorgeous!

  2. A day to remember and to honour those who stormed the beaches. As Pondside mentioned Canadians, 14,000 of them, stormed Juno Beach along with the British.
    I'm glad this day is remembered - with feasting and joy!

  3. Thanks for a post to honor our heroes.

  4. Maggie, It's such an honor to be in the company of one who was there. When we traveled to Normandy in 1999, there were four veterans in our group. It was a moving experience to hear their stories and be among them as they returned to the area where they had fought. Our generation and those behind us must keep this memory alive. Too many were lost that day fighting for our freedom. Thanks for sharing. ~ Sarah

  5. I must show your post to Phil, very interesting. And of course we will be on the beaches in two weeks time and also with you one day when we are in Normandy. Jackie in Surrey, UK.

  6. Wonderful tribute - we must NEVER forget. My FIL served in WW2. He received orders to go to France, but his ship burned the night before and he was sent to the Pacific for 4 years. My father was in the service, received his orders to go to France, and then the war ended the next day. Nonetheless, the war and the whole D-Day operation remains a passion for my husband and me. What courage! Linda

  7. What a wonderful way to honor the memory of those brave souls! I have taken students to France twice to see the beaches, and it was gratifying to see their respect. But it hit me hard when I was there in '09 [the 65th anniversary]. I cried, then called my girlfriend, at home in New York, who is an Army Veteran, and whose dad stormed Omaha Beach. Then we cried together, over the phone. I plan to take my husband there on our trip to France in July. Thanks for this post!
    Dawne @Quiddity2

  8. We have been watching Normandy stories all week on Dutch t.v. I am so looking forward to our trip there in Sept. xo Jenny

  9. What a marvelous post, Maggie. Yes, it's a day we should never forget.
    And that roast pig looks like the perfect ending to your day!

  10. As I understand the water was red and the sand too when these brave young soldiers were approaching shore and land mines were plentiful. For all of those that lost their lives and for those that survived I'll never forget their heroism.


Thanks for stopping by, your visit just made my day!