Prior to our departure on the day’s adventure, we are informed that Prince Charles and Camilla are participating in a Service in honour of the British Legion. I share this with you and post a pic of the Cathedral to give you some indication of the activity taking place in honour of the Veterans who paid the supreme price in support of freedom. Our hotel is about 200 meters from the Cathedral. Those of you who watched any TV will have seen the Queen, the Prince of Wales, President Obama and many world leaders at various locations. There was a shutdown of local traffic and in order to gain access to any one of the events, one needed a particular sticker on your vehicle. The Gendarmerie were everywhere and I believe they did a credible job!!
To-day 6th, 2014, we begin by visiting Longues sur Mer and receive an excellent overview, one of many, by John Hetherington, our guide.
This site was a significantly fortified area. I have shots of the several bunkers. The 155 mm guns kept the war ships from getting close enough, thus minimizing their impact. Accordingly it was imperative these guns be destroyed “early in the game”. Also, these same guns were capable of firing on other beaches. John explained how the bunker was captured and destroyed. The date was June 7th, as shown in one of the pix.
We walked toward the ocean and viewed the look-out bunker which was extremely well covered, covered by several inches of concrete. It appeared to be in its original condition.
A few days after June 6th, Canadian Spitfire Squadrons, by June 21st, used this area as their base of operations.
There is a much greater story to be shared with regard to this Day! Later in the day we visit the Juno Beach Centre, but at this time, about lunch, we are compelled to abandon our plan to visit another site. Our scheduled visit to the Juno Beach Centre for the Service is 17:30; that is the time the Service is to begin. Accordingly, we depart about 15:00 for the site about 15:45. The Gendarmerie did an excellent job of keeping traffic moving. Upon arrival the Vets, that is the Vets who participated in the June 6th Landing, were given a ride to the viewing area. The grandstand was full; upon arrival there was standing room but that soon disappeared and the police were compelled to close the entrance! The Service was delayed one and one half hours because the Prime Minister and the Prince of Wales were held up. The heat, especially because we were all in the sun, was most uncomfortable. The Vets had to be taken inside!! The rest of the audience “suffered”. Notwithstanding that delay of 90 minutes, when the Prime Minister took the microphone, HE DID NOT HAVE THE COURTSEY TO APOLOGISE!! Call it arrogance, call it ignorance, it was an insult to the Vets who landed here on June 6th, 1944, as well of course, to the rest of us!!! We took the short trip back to our hotel and finished our most acceptable dinner at precisely 23:00.
I have some wonderful pix of the event, but as I am experiencing difficulty gaining access to the internet, I will have to delay. No Wi-Fi in our room????
Stan and Lois in (I think it is) Bayeux, Normandy. Writing this on 2014 06 07 08:20