Normandy trip: Pegasus Bridge and Museum.

Thursday was the last day Dad and I spent in France. After packing our backs we left the cottage and drove up to the coast; the plan was to go to Pegasus Bridge and then the Merville Battery before driving to Le Havre for the overnight ferry to Portsmouth.

 

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Cafe Gondree: the first building to be liberated on D Day. We popped in for a bite to eat and sat outside in the late summer sun.

 

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A 50mm PAK38 anti tank gun on the fortress mounting on the eastern side of the bridge.

 

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The current bridge: not the original but a one of a very similar design but a little larger now crosses the canal.

 

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Memorial to Maj. Howard who led the Parachute assault to take the bridge.

 

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Three stone pillars mark where the three gliders touched down, their closeness is testament to some incredible flying from the pilots.

 

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The Pegasus Memorial museum- this was the most modern and well appointed museum that we visited in France.

 

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It had the usual display cases of artifacts: here a case of German weapons and equipment.

 

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Another case had items pertaining to the French Resistance and SOE. The pistol on the left made from stamped metal is the Liberator Pistol clicky.

 

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A contemporary photos show just how close the gliders got to the bridge.

 

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Larger items were set in tableaux, here a jeep and a brace of machine guns. The museum had a very good audio/ visual display based around a large scale diorama of the area.

 

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The original bridge has been preserved in the grounds of the museum with assorted vehicles and guns.

 

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Bullet holes show the ferocity of the fighting.

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A Bofors 40mm anti aircraft gun.

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An US halftrack.

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A Maxon quad .50cal anti aircraft turret- taken from an M16 halftrack.

 

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One of the best British inventions: the Bailey Bridge.

 

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A mock up of a Horsa glider, only a single original airframe exists now.

 

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The remains of a Horsa glider are on display showing just how fragile they were.

 

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A British 17pdr anti tank gun.

 

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A British 25pdr field gun.

 

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Another British gun: this time a 5.5inch Howitzer.

 

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Finally a Centaur IV with the 95mm howitzer. This is of the same type as the one just behind Sword beach that I featured earlier but is in much better condition.

Cheers,

 

Pete.

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