6th June 1944 (D-Day) witnessed the arrival off the French coast of the greatest Armada the World has ever known and marked the commencement of the Battle of Normandy which raged ferociously for the ensuing six weeks.
The preparation and the planning was on a scale hitherto unknown – varying from the taking of aerial photographs of virtually every inch to those brave men who parked their Midget Submarines on the sea bed, off the coast, whilst they crept out to take core samples of the sand so as to ensure armoured vehicles would be able to get up the beaches.
The first liberators to arrive in France were the Airborne Soldiers – the British on the Eastern flank and the Americans on the Western flank. Landing in the dark – by parachute or by glider on to heavily fortified territory involves courage and valour of the highest order, none the more so than those who came to the beaches by sea. The beaches themselves were littered with devices designed to prevent the soldiers landing but, having landed, they then had to wage war against an enemy frequently on higher ground and in a commanding position. With bravery and tenacity a foothold was established which led to the liberation of Normandy and the opening of the Western Front.
Here at Astle Paterson we will remember those who fell on the Allied Side during the Battle of Normandy and those who were wounded or scarred by all they had seen – in a local instance it took 47 years for the nightmares to subside. Not only do we remember the Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Forces but also the French civilians whose homes were bombed and shelled into debris.
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