A cycling tour of the Normandy D-day landing beaches

Taking in the heroics and horrors of the D-day sites is a moving experience for our writer and a fitting way to mark today’s 75th anniversary

Precariously small landing craft lurching about in an unruly sea. Young men’s faces set in a mixture of determination and trepidation. The beach before them a morass of tank traps and barbed wire. “As our boat touched sand and the ramp went down, I became a visitor to hell,” US private Harry Parley later recalled.

The horror and the heroism of the D-day landings came home to me once more as I watched a film at the Musée du Débarquement (D-Day Landings Museum) in Arromanches-les-Bains. Seventy-five years ago, on 6 June 1944, this small town was at the western end of Gold Beach – code name for one of the five stretches of the Normandy coast chosen for the allied invasion of German-occupied France.

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