We had a leisurely start today after a few hectic days. We made our way to Utah beach a short walk from our motorhome Aire. It is a beautiful sunny day but pretty windy as we walk along the back of the dunes to the beach. The coach parties are out in force already and as per the rest of Normandy we have been to, the background hum is mainly English speaking. Many American accents here as you would imagine.
There are a number of monuments at Utah to the Infantry, the Navy and the Airforce involved in the landing, as well as an obligatory museum. Although this one at least wins on scale with a Mitchell B25 Bomber in a huge hall. There are some lovely statues, a example of the landing craft used and a Sherman Easy 8 Tank plus a big anti-Aircraft gun. So we had a good walk round and a walk along the windswept beach. Next lunch at the cafe / gift shop which was very much themed, one of the tables being permanently taken by two mannequins in full uniform.
A short drive to the inland village of Saint-Mére Eglise. Those who remember The Longest Day, will recall the scene with the American Paratroopers left hanging on the church roof. His name was John Steele of the 505 Parachute Infantry Regiment, he pretended to be dead for 2 hours before being taken prisoner, later to escape and support in taking the town. There were many casualties in this strategic town, likely to have been used in a German counterattack and so received an early deployment of Paratroopers. Sadly the drop due to conditions was not as accurate as planned and many landed directly in the town and were killed as they were snagged on descent.
It is a pretty little town, where the church still presides over the central square. They have a model of a paratrooper hanging from the church in honour of those that lost their lives. Enjoying people watching on the square whilst writing the blog. Only 1 full day remaining until we sail home!