World War II D-Day Beaches | Museums and Cemeteries

The whole of Lower Normandy is awash with remnants of World War II, from the remains of German Gun shelters found along the foreshore, to the landing beaches themselves.


Landing Beaches

Utah

Of all the 60 miles of coastline used in the D-Day landings Utah Beach is the closest, just 20 miles down the coast, not far from St Mere Eglise. There is a small museum here with models of the German defense. There are some small local cafes in the area, plus great frites and hot dog stands.

Musee du Debarquement 50480 Sainte-Marie-Du-Mont

02 33 71 53 35

www.utah-beach.com


Omaha

Further along the coast is the largest single landing beach, Omaha, where the US invasion force so nearly came to disaster. Omaha also has three D-Day museums, all privately run by militaria collectors.

The Musee-Memorial d’Omaha Beach (the longest running) contains a reconstruction of the Omaha landing beach.

Tel: 02 31 21 97 44

www.musee-memorial-omaha.com

Musee D-Day Omaha, features an Enigma machine.

Tel: 02 31 21 71 80

www.omaha-beach.org


The Big Red One Assault Museum

Recent addition, dedicated to the US 1st infantry Division which landed at this point on D-Day.

Tel: 02 31 21 53 81

All of the landing beaches are well marked, with lots of information readily available. The companies offer minibus tours with guides of the Normandy battlefields:

Battlebus, 16 Rue de la Maitrise, 14000 Bayeux

Tel : 02 31 22 28 82

www.battlebus.fr

D-Day Tours, Bayeux

Tel: 02 31 51 70 52


Airborne Museum | Ste-Mere-Eglise

This is an outstanding and child friendly museum that can be done in under two hours. Located in Ste-Mere-Eglise, near the church square and featured in the 1960’s film ‘The Longest Day’. A dummy of US paratrooper (photo at top of page) actually hangs from the church tower to this day as a monument to John Steele, who was caught on the church during D-Day.

The museum contains a WACO glider in original condition plus as Douglas C47 aircraft which actually took part in the parachute drops and towed gliders during Operation Overlord. There are numerous displays including vintage clothing, documentation, weapons, munitions and equipment.

Ste-Mere-Eglise is the little town which was at the center of the US paratroop drops on the night of 5-6th June. Around the town many interesting shops and information sites give a feel of what life must have been like. Bullet holes in church pews and walls offer a constant reminder of what this town has been through.

Airborne Museum Tel: 02 33 41 41 35

www.musee-airborne.com


Muse de la Liberation | Cherbourg

Perched on the top of Mont Roule overlooking the centre of Cherbourg, is a fort that was pivotal for the resistance during the invasion. It has since been turned into a museum detailing the years of occupation before the liberation of the city.

A 20 minute film with English subtitles shows images of Utah Beach Landings to the Liberation of Cherbourg.

Children go free. Adults 3.70 euros.

Fort du Roule Montee des Resistants 50200 Cherbourg – Octeville

Tel: +33 (02) 33 20 14 12

www.ville-cherbourg.fr


Memorial de la Liberte Retouvee (Memorial fo Found Freedom) | Quineville

A beachfront museum that gives a fascinating insight into what it was like to be a civilian during the German occupation.

Life size recreations of local village scenes, shops, cars etc take you through the war chronologically from the perspectives of locals. The film showing real footage from the invasion brings it all to life.

Adult 6 Euros, Child 3 Euros

Tel: +33(02) 33 95 95 95

www.memorial-quineville.com


Cemeteries

American Military Cemeteries

Colleville-Sur-Mer

The largest American Cemetery where 9,387 graves are marked with white cross headstones. The cemetery is set on a cliff top overlooking Omaha beach. There is a chapel, memorial and visitor centre.

www.abmc.gov/cemeteries


Saint James

The cemetery, the chapel with the Memorial Room and the Wall of the Missing, commemorate the 4,410 soldiers resting there.

Free entry. Closest to The Beach House.

Tel: 02 33 89 24 90

www.abmc.gov/home.php


German Military Cemeteries

La Cambe

The largest war cemetery in Lower Normandy, houses the graves of 21,222 soldiers killed during the 1944 combat over a 7 hectare site. There is also a peace garden with 1,220 maple trees. It is the nearest of the German cemeteries to The Beach House.

Tel: 02 31 22 70 76

www.volksbund.de

La Chapelle-Enjunger

In 1957 the exhumation service of the Volksbund transferred soldiers’ remains to this German millitary cemetery. Free entry throughout the year.

Tel: 02 33 56 22 88

www.volksbund.de/seite-nicht-gefunden.html

In 1944 the German and American dead were buried in this cemetery. In 1945-1946 the American authorities transferred American bodies to the cemetery at Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer (Calvados), while in 1957 the German authorities brought the German bodies to La Chapelle- Enjunger (noted above).

Tel: 02 33 41 79 89

www.volksbund.de


British Cemeteries

Bayeux

THis is the largest British Cemetery of WWII in France with 4,648 graves. It houses 4,116 Commonwealth graves (of which 338 are not identified) and 532 from other nationalities, mainly German. Other British Cemeteries include Baneville-Sannervile with 2,175 graves and Ranville with 2,562 graves.

Contact Commonwealth War Graves Commission for information on the above British Cemeteries.

Tel: 03 21 21 77 00

www.cwgc.org

The Association of Normandie Memoire

Organizes, co-ordinates and promotes sites, museums and events relating to D-Day and the Battle of Normandy.

Tel: 02 31 94 80 26

www.normandiememoire.com