Gunner Tours: D Day beaches & landing ground

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A visit over a long weekend to the D Day beaches and landing sites.  There is a gunner story on each beach and landing site.  We will see the strength of the German defences and see where and how the Gunners helped to overcome them.  We will explore the stories of the Gunners who took part, the planners, commanders and soldiers, heroes, poets and those who fell.

We follow the dramatic actions that changed the course of history.  We will see where the inspired and imaginative planning helped the allies to land and the cleaver technology and techniques used by the Gunners.   We will follow the story of the men who duelled with tanks and  aircraft with skill and heroism.

Come and see where the German Gunners fought the longest in Normandy of any of Hitler's Wehrmacht from a gun position described as the “surface of the moon”   We will also see the  tank battles and find out about the Gunner Heroes on D Day. The story of VC winning Commando Pat Porteous  fighting his way across Ouestrehem. Sergeant Palmer who took on German anti tank guns at close range over open sights.  The gallant Canadian Major Young who led his guns on foot through sniper fire, and the  future Startrek actor James Doohan wounded  on Juno beach.

Hear about some of the Gunner generals.  “Hatchett Jack” who planned the fire support for D Day;  David Currie, killed in action commanding an armoured brigade and Denis Sanders, who served in all three services and led the amphibious Royal Marine Armoured Support Group, before being killed in Action

Find out about the poets.  The Second World, war is less well known than the First for its war poetry, but  Agustus March Phillips, also described as a model for James Bond and Major John Jarmain who wrote some of the best poetry from the war.

If time permits it may be possible to allow for a visit to visit a specific grave or memorial.

Additional Information

British forces
Year :
Start Location :
Caen, Normandy, France
Tour operated by :
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Thursday 6th July 2017: Travel to Normandy
Pick up from Briefing en route by your guide

Arrive at your Caen hotel for overnight accommodation prior to departure after breakfast the following morning on your tour.
Accommodation: *2 star Caen Hotel

Friday 7th July 2017: British Airborne Landings Sword and Juno Beaches

Six 40mm bofors guns similar to this shot down fourteen German aircraft in ten days

9.00 am – After breakfast depart the hotel for our short drive to the D-Day landing zones.
During the morning you will visit: 
  1. Merville Battery; the site of one of the most dramatic airborne operations of D Day, and the following day by commandos led by a Gunner hero Major John Pooley who fell in the assault.  We will also look at the story from the German side. These ordinary German soldiers occupied merville battery from D Day until they withdrew with their horse drawn guns in the middle of August. Your entry fee is included. .
  2. Breville Churchyard.the ruined church at Breville is the legacy of a dramatic battle, where a devastating barrage on friend and foe alike broke the will of the Germans to attack the beachhead. You will hear the story of the gunners who fought and died there.
  3. Pegasus bridge was the first place captured on D Day. You will hear the story of the fight to the bridge, its air defences and the story of how the gunners foiled German efforts to destroy the bidge. Your entrance to the Pegasus Bridge Museum is included..

Picnic lunch at Pegasus Bridge.(included)

After lunch you will visit:-

  • Ranville Cemetery the resting place of many gunners including the poet Major John Jarmain and brigadier Denis Sanders, one of two gunner generals killed in action in Normandy.  
  • Sword beach, where you will hear about the fortunes of the forward observers, naval bombardment teams and Centaur tanks.
  • Juno beach, where you will see the emplacements still scarred by the D day bombardment and why the german defences were so formidable.  You will hear the story of the Gunners awarded the George Medal on D Day for their courage, and of the Canadian artillerys. You will even find the spot where James Doohan - Star Trek's  “Scotty” was wounded. .

6 pm return to your hotel. In the evening you can explore Caen or talk to your guide. 

Dinner tonight is not included, and you are free to eat in the modern hotel bistro or Caen whichn has a great choice of authentic French bistros and restuarants for dinner.

Saturday 8th July 2017:  Gold and Omaha Beach and inland to Bayeux

9.00 am – After breakfast depart the hotel for a short drive to the D-Day beaches.  

During the morning you will visit: 

  • Sexton SP Gun memorial Ver-sur-Mer King sector of Gold beach where you will see where the  artillery of the Hertfordshire Yeomanry landed and hear the story of their D Day battles.

  • The places where Stanley Hollis fought his action for which he was awarded the VC, and hear about the role of the Gunners   

  • Jig sector of Gold Beach you can follow the story of the Essex Yeomanry, and the story of Sgt Palmer  who is still commemorated at le Hamel.  Inland you will see where the artillery broke up the German counter attacks on D-Day.

  • Arromanches where you can hear about and see the remains of the air defences of Mulberry Harbour as well as visit the landing museum.

There  will be a time to stroll around this charming resort and buy lunch.

After lunch you will conmtinue your visit.

  • At Omaha beach, you c an explore the German defences and visit the US Cemetery.

  • You will see the British graves at St Laurent cemetery and here the story of a British Band of Brothers and the Gunner's own 'James Bond,' the poet and novelist Augustus March Phillipps 

Dinner tonight is not included, and you are free to eat in the modern hotel bistro or Caen whichn has a great choice of authentic French bistros and restuarants for dinne

Sunday  9th July 2017: Return to the UK 

Return to the UK


Our tour is based in the historic city of Caen 

Evening Talks

Although our tour will be focused on the human story, we will offer optional evening leatures on artillery equipment and tactics and happy to talk about Monty's “colossal cracks” versus “wonder weapons and aufragstactik. We will introduce you to German artillery methods and why the German artillery became more effective even as they were losing the battle for Normandy...

Food and Drink

Normandy is justifiably famous for its cuisine based on local produce, including sea food, dairy produces and apples.  There are plenty of opportunities to sample local food and drink. 



* Coach transport throughout tour from the UJC in London return
* Experienced battlefield guide, Major Frank Baldwin, throughout
* Ferry from Dover to Calais return
* 3 night’s accommodation in Caen
* Buffet breakfast daily
* Pegasus Bridge museum entrance fee
* Arromanches museum entrance
* Poppy wreath (1 for the group)
* Printed tour programme memento
* Baggage tags
* Full licencing and bonding fees for 100% financial protection of your money.