D Day Commemoration Normandy : The Green Howards

Watching today’s commemorations of The 70th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings on BBC TV I’m reminded of my own holiday in Normandy in 2006.

Normandy Map

We stayed for one week at Le Clos Normand right on the beach at St Aubin Sur Mer. In June 1944 the beach at St Aubin served as Juno; a Canadian landing beach.

St Aubin

The beach St Aubin Sur Mer

Canadian St A de M

Canadian Memorial, St Aubin Sur Mer (Juno Beach)

On the first day we were driving along the road that hugs the French coast noticing signs to Commonwealth War Graves and talking about my father-in-law who served in The Green Howards Yorkshire Regiment (he actually served in the North Africa Campaign and was later a prisoner-of-war in Austria) when out of the blue we saw a small signpost indicating “Green Howards Memorial”.

GH Crepon

Of course, we turned the car round and headed up the lane to the small village of Crepon. There on a bend of the road – no one could miss it – was the Green Howards Memorial. We learned that Green Howards were two of the first battalions to land at Gold Beach on June 6 1944. Read more about this day here.

“When night fell on D-Day, the Green Howards were as far forward as any British troops.” But sadly they suffered many casualties, of course.

GH Crepon Mem

Memorial unveiled by King Harald of Norway 26 October 1996

We noticed there were lights around the area and went back on at least one evening to see the beautifully floodlit memorial to these brave young Green Howards.

GH Memorial

“Remember the 6 June 1944”