Juno Beach, Normandy, France
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Juno Beach, Normandy, France

Juno Beach, the Canadian sector, had been on my bucket list for a long time. Sword and Gold were the British sector. Omaha and Utah were the American sector. This secretive well-crafted plan amongst the Canadians, Britain and Americans was carried out on June 6, 1944 or what it is known as D-Day.

Canadians stormed Courseulles-sur-Mer, Bernieres-sur-Mer and St. Aubin-sur-Mer, the three towns that make up the codename of Juno Beach. Britain and Americans each had something to honour the veterans of World War II. Canadians did not. Thanks to some veterans and volunteers, Juno Beach Museum opened in 2003. It contains memorabilia of veterans who fought also displays of what happened on that day. The museum honours the 45,000 Canadians who lost their lives during World War II.

Be sure not to miss the two videos shown here in the museum. The first video we walked into a room, stayed standing. Above us is a surround screen. I felt like the soldiers that day, on their boats approaching shore with planes overhead, gun fires, soldiers then leaving the boat to start running through the rough water making their way on shore and trying to fight their way inland.

In another room, the video is about life during World War II. The end of the video tugged at my heart. Brings you back to present day as a couple and their two teens walking along the beach talking about D-Day then the soldiers of past, being greyed out, walked behind them. Later as I walked the beach, I too turned to see if those heroes were walking behind.

Outside the museum is a Commemorative Column. All the bricks on these columns are purchased by people wanting to make a donation to the museum. The staff will engrave whatever you’d like on the brick.

The statue of Remembrance and Renewal is very moving since it represents the Canadian forces that attacked Juno Beach.

Canadian students work here on a four month contract. I’m jealous but what a great way to get to know France and also learn of our soldiers heroics during World War II. The students give tours. We visited the remains of the German bunker that was used as an observation post. Inside the bunker had radio equipment to communicate to other bunkers to coordinate the defense of the beach.

Courseulles-sur-Mer is a nice town wished I stayed longer. I was on a bus tour so we had about 90 minutes for lunch. The warmth of the sunshine felt good as I enjoyed my tasty chicken with rice and veggies washed down with a glass of white wine at Les Alizes. Just before I was about to get the cheque, the clouds moved in quite fast then few minutes later it started pouring. The waitress had to scramble to untie the cover to shelter the patio.

Bernieres-sur-Mer was taken by Queens Own Rifles & the North Shore New Brunswick Regiment during the early hours of the invasion. Here stands Maison du Queen's Own Rifles (Queen’s Own Rifles House), the first house that was liberated. Over 100 Canadian soldiers were killed or wounded in the first few minutes of the invasion.

St Aubin-sur-Mer is a small village where the North Shore Regiment of New Brunswick along with 10th Armoured Regiment and Le Regiment de la Chaudière of Quebec landed, put up heavy resistance and pushed inland. Today this beautifully flowered town is a good tourist destination as people enjoy the sand beach, water sports, can pay tennis or go horse-back riding.

Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery holds 2,044 Canadians and one French soldier. The landscape is kept very well. At the centre of the cemetery is the Cross of Sacrifice as you’ll see in most Commonwealth cemeteries that have 40 plus graves. The cross is designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield in 1918. You cannot help but be moved as you look at the gravestones, the ages of the men who died in the early stages of the Battle of Normandy, the youngest being 18.


Street Talk

  

Thank you Leonardo2. Yes it's a history that people should not forget. I'm working on another article about Dieppe and hope to get that posted soon.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
Leonardo2  

wow, this is really full of memories and emotions. Some people might have forgotten the history, thanks to you, you bring back the memories of the past. Nice article and informative. Keep on writing.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
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