A World War II historic guide to discover the D-Day Landing Beaches in Normandy

Travel Normandy guide François Gauthron offers tours of the Normandy landing beaches, World War II battlefield. Come and discover the most famous part of Normandy where took place the Landing and the battle of Normandy in June 1944 to liberate France and Europe. You will be escorted by a qualified bilingual guide who will show you round the major sites of the beaches. Visit the highlights of World War II sites in Normandy with an expert license guide, first the most important sites of the landing beaches.

Normandy Travel

Travel in Normandy with Francois Gauthron


Bayeux first town liberated by the Allied forces

Bayeux was the first major town to be liberated by the Allies. Its liberation was the one of the goals of the British troops (50th Northumbrian Division) landing on Gold beach. By 8.30 am of June 6th, reconnaissance patrols of the 151st Brigade entered the outskirts of the town and spent the night in the suburb of Saint Sulpice. By noon of June 7th, tanks and soldiers of the 56th Brigade entered the city. German resistance was light as General Kraiss had moved his troops of the 915th Regiment towards the Cotentin Peninsula where he had reports of American drops. General Kraiss moved German troops back towards Bayeux as the British approached but finally withdrew.

In 1944, 2nd Battalion, Wales Borderers, had the distinction of being the only Welsh battalion to take part in the Normandy Landing. It was part of 7th Armoured Division and 49th Infantry Division. It ended the war in Germany, and remained there, as part of the occupation forces, until 1948 when it returned home.

Enemy pockets

Enemy pockets, however, still remained North of Bayeux at Sully and Port-en-Bessin, which 56th Brigade, supported by 5th royal Tanks, were given to clear.  This task proved typical of all tank fighting in the bocage.  The closeness of the country meant that tanks and anti-tank guns usually engaged at ranges of fifty yards and upwards.  Infantry could approach unprotected tanks unseen, and once succeeded in boarding one of our tanks; and snipers, as often as not merely infantry soldiers offensively trained in the use of the rifle, were extremely active.  However, the regiment, after much hard fighting, succeeded in destroying four 88mm guns, one 75mm gun and one self-propelled 30mm.  Meanwhile, 1st Royal Tanks and 4th County were supporting 69th Infantry Brigade in the Saint-Léger area and 151st Brigade in the area of Jerusalem cross-roads.

Canadian General Hospitals in Bayeux

After D-Day, many nursing sisters were stationed at Casualty Clearing Stations Nos. 2, 3 and 6 near the front lines around Caen. During July 1944 Nos. 7, 8 and 10, Canadian General Hospitals (CGH) were set up west of Bayeux.
CGH Nos. 7 and 8 were already set up and operating when No. 10 arrived. No. 10's hospital tent and medical equipment were lost when the ship transporting them was torpedoed. However, when the equipment was replaced, a complete tent hospital was set up consisting of «E blocks» (named for their design). Each block could accommodate over 60 patients, and No. 10 CGH had 800 beds. This area near Bayeux became known as Harley Street because of the numerous British and Canadian military hospitals set up about seven miles from the heavy fighting near Caen.

British Cemetery in Bayeux

Historical information:
The Sherwood Rangers entered Bayeux late on 6th June 1944, but the town was formally liberated the next day. Charles de Gaulle established his first Free French administration in France there until Paris was liberated, and it became the main staging post for the British Army in Normandy. The streets of Bayeux were too narrow to accommodate thousands of military vehicles. Royal Engineers and Pioneer Corps constructed a ring-road round Bayeux soon after D-Day. Several military hospitals were also established.

The cemetery lies on the south-west side of the main ring road (built by the British in 1944) around the city of Bayeux. It is about 100 metres from the junction with D5 to Littry, almost opposite the Museum of the Battle of Normandy (which is well signposted throughout Bayeux).

The largest British military cemetery of the Second World War in France, receiving in majority the graves of soldiers that died from wounds in the military hospitals around Bayeux.

Battle of Normandy Memorial Museum, Bayeux

This is a good educational museum. Ideally located to also visit the British Commonwealth cemetery. Park your car and walk along side a Sherman, M10, and Crocodile before you reach the MIA's wall and the graves.

One of the few Normandy VC (Victoria Cross) winners is buried here

Corporal Sidney Bates was serving with the Norfolks when he took part in action at Sourdeval in August 1944, which resulted in the posthumous award of the Victoria Cross. From Camberwell, London Bates was badly wounded in the action, dying of his wounds the next day. His citation reads: «In North-West Europe on 6th August, 1944, the position held by a battalion of the Royal Norfolk Regiment near Sourdeval was heavily attacked. Corporal Bates was commanding a forward section of the left forward company which suffered some casualties, so he decided to move the remnants of his section to an alternative position from which he could better counter the enemy thrust. As the threat to this position became desperate, Corporal Bates seized a light machine-gun and charged, firing from the hip. He was almost immediately wounded and fell, but he got up and advanced again, though mortar bombs were falling all round him. He was hit a second time and more seriously wounded, but he went forward undaunted, firing constantly till the enemy started to fall back before him. Hit for the third time, he fell, but continued firing until his strength failed him. By then the enemy had withdrawn and Corporal Bates, by his supreme gallantry and self-sacrifice, had personally saved a critical situation. He died shortly afterwards of the wounds he had received».







New Zealand


South African
















Unidentified American


On the other side of the ring road, a memorial bears the names of 1,808 Commonwealth soldiers with no known grave.

And More

Place Saint-Patrice: this square is located at the beginning of the main shopping street west city end and also the open market square every Saturday.
Place Gauquelin Despallières: free parking lot next to Saint-Patrice.
Place D'Ornano: ideally located to visit the Tapestry and the Cathedral.