On 6th June 1944, an Allied invasion force of more than 150,000 landed on the beaches of Normandy, in an operation that would turn the tide of the Second World War.
This was the largest amphibious invasion in history and marked the beginning of ‘Operation Overlord’ (code name for the Battle of Normandy), which liberated France and north-western Europe from the clutches of the Nazis. Having successfully convinced the Germans that the Allied invasion would take place in a different location, troops actually landed on five assault beaches; Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword. The Allies pushed through northern France, meeting fierce resistance from the Germans, before finally reaching the Seine in August.
70 years later, a number of commemorative events in Normandy, and across the world, are taking place to give thanks to those who fought so bravely for a free Europe. In the UK, a day of commemoration will take place at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. In France, many of the surviving Normandy veterans will be taking part in ceremonies of remembrance at important sites, including Pegasus Bridge, where a midnight celebration on Friday 6th June 2014 is due to mark the exact moment the airborne landings began, seven decades ago.
As well as marking this special anniversary, this year’s events will be particularly poignant, as many of the Normandy Veterans associations have taken the difficult decision to disband afterwards. This means that for many it will be their last visit to northern France.
Many of the key D-Day sites have been preserved, attracting many thousands of visitors each year. We arrange school history trips to the WW2 battlefields of Normandy, where your students can visit Pegasus Bridge, Omaha Beach, Caen, Pointe du Hoc and Arromanches. These tours are designed to allow pupils to comprehend the events of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, as well as its importance in the outcome of the Second World War.