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Norman D. Landing


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19 hours ago, cutiger83 said:

Ken and Johan,

 

I was thinking since this year's D-Day festivities had to be cancelled , can we take a trip down memory lane?

 

The D-Day Festival as we know it today was only introduced roughly 10-15 years ago… Before that, commemorations were held each year through small local initiatives and larger events for the 5-yearly celebrations. The first time I went to Normandy in June was in 1984 for the 40th anniversary. I had bought my Jeep in October 1983 and worked all through winter to get it ready to make the 350 mile drive with my dad…

 

This was only the second or third time collectors took their vehicles to the landing beaches en masse. It was also the time veterans and heads of state returned to Normandy and the year of President Reagan’s ‘Boys of Pointe du Hoc’ speech.

 

Normandy had not really changed much since the war; a lot of the memorials you seen now had not yet been erected and the landscape still bore many scars from the war.

Following the 1984 tour, I visited Normandy every year in June but only took military vehicles for the larger commemorations. The next time I drove the Jeep to the event was 1989. By then I had met several likeminded friends and we went over in a column of a dozen vehicles and camped out in Bayeux… This was really the start of the large vehicle gatherings as many vehicles had come onto the market and interest in them was growing… 1989 was also the year of the big parade through the center of  Bayeux which is one of the larger cities in the region… I have never been a fan of driving in a parade, as I prefer to watch the vehicles go by from the side… In a parade, all you see are the crowds and the rear of the vehicle in front. That parade was very impressive and took like 4 hours to pass by… It was huge, held just about every type of vehicle you could think of, and has probably never been repeated since…

 

The following years saw us driving to Normandy in June for smaller events and visits to museums….

 

By 1994 for the 50th Anniversary, many things had changed… Museums had been upgraded, roads refurbished as more and more people decided to go to Normandy for the event. Once more I drove the Jeep down from Belgium and we camped outside Arromanches… President Clinton was there with lots of other Heads of State and it was the first really BIG event…. It was also the year of rain! I remember it rained just about every day for 10 consecutive days… There is a saying in French ‘En Normandie il faut beau plusieurs fois par jour’ which means the weather in Normandy is nice several time a day, but that year was really bad…. There and then we decided we would not camp out any more and find lodging in one of the many B&Bs the region has… That same year many large fairs were held and I picked up loads of stuff for my collection.

It was also the year I ran into large groups of veterans from the 29th Division and the Rangers staying in a hotel run by friends in Grandcamp-Maisy. Hanging out with these veterans led to friendships and nice items for my collection for many years after 1994…

 

Until 1994 commemorations were mainly held around Arromanches and Bayeux which are both in the center of the landing zone… But by 1999 more and more events were held in the American sector around Sainte Mere Eglise So when I took the Jeep to Normandy that year most of the time was spent in the American sector…

After that the whole thing just exploded… Movies like Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers ignited a huge interest in D-Day, museums, vehicle and uniform collecting and re-enacting. Building up to the 60th in 2004 it was clear it was going to be very busy… Also driving a Jeep at 40MPH in European traffic wasn’t really safe anymore and by then I had acquired and restored genuine US Army bicycles which we took in a van to Normandy. It turned out to be a good decision because traffic was hectic, security for POTUS was very strict but with our bikes we were able to get around fairly quick and easy.

 

And from then on it just got bigger and bigger with reconstruction works, new museums, dozens of new monuments and thousands of people attending… It is no longer a series of smaller events in between the 5-yearly editions but now Normandy is ‘invaded’ every year by thousands of enthusiasts with a special interest in D-Day. Some people find it has become too much of a circus but there are still nice and quiet places in that huge open-air museum that Normandy is. 2019 was the largest event to date with hundreds of thousands of people roaming the countryside in all kinds of vehicles…

 

One of the nicest rides I got on was last year when a friend took us in one of his halftracks for a day, picknicking on the beach and having seafood along the way… photo attached…

 

I do not really have a favorite edition in over 35 years of visiting Normandy in June…. The years with the veterans were of course nice, but every year has its merits….
What it is really about for me is seeing friends on a yearly basis, touring historical ground, picking up items for the collection along the way, enjoying good food and basically just having a good time in good company…

 

For more on the 2004-2009-2014 editions, please visit these pages of my website... sorry still have to ad a page on 2019...

http://www.theliberator.be/specialevents2.htm

HalfTrackRide-05Jun19 (1).jpg

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4 hours ago, Johan Willaert said:

The building still exists…

It's a pizza restaurant now...

 

SixBellsInn.jpg

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Hi Johan,  thanks for adding a street view of the location, yes it's a pizza restaurant now, I believe the planning application is to change it to a restaurant selling a menu of Russian food, the applicant states that his wife is Siberian ??

 

.Norman D. Landing, Forum Normandy Correspondent, June 18  2020.

 

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Young enough to care and enjoy militaria - Old enough to remember as surplus

 

" Life's too short for reproductions "

 

 

Life is like a tank of gas, the closer you get to a quarter tank, the faster it goes 

 

.

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13 hours ago, mikie said:

You mean after all that magnificent detective work tracking down that pub, you can't solve the problem of the dogs names?  Why they were Fido and Spot!  Elementary.   

 

Seriously, well done sir!  

 

Mikie

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Thanks dear boy for your kind comment, toodle-pip for now . . . . . . . 

 

Norman D. Landing, Forum Normandy Correspondent, June 18  2020.

 

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.

Young enough to care and enjoy militaria - Old enough to remember as surplus

 

" Life's too short for reproductions "

 

 

Life is like a tank of gas, the closer you get to a quarter tank, the faster it goes 

 

.

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11 hours ago, cutiger83 said:

Ken,

 

Amazing detective work on the picture of the pub. Are you sure you weren't Sherlock Holmes in a previous life?

 

...Kat

.

Hi Kat,  thanks for your very kind comment, I couldn't be Sherlock Holmes he lived at 221B Baker Street, I lived at 220, only joking. 

 

.Norman D. Landing, Forum Normandy Correspondent, June 18  2020.

 

.

.

Young enough to care and enjoy militaria - Old enough to remember as surplus

 

" Life's too short for reproductions "

 

 

Life is like a tank of gas, the closer you get to a quarter tank, the faster it goes 

 

.

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Then & Now Normandy . . . . . . . . 

 

I had to make a trip to Carentan this morning so whilst there I took the opportunity to drive out to capture this comparison below. The old farmhouse pre-dates WWII and probably WWI as well, however it is now empty and falling into a state of deterioration as it stands close to a traffic roundabout. At the time of the change from a junction to a roundabout it was allowed to remain there as the old lady that sat outside it daily had lived there all her life. 

 

Sadly a very dull and overcast day today when I took the image. Notice that a concrete pylon stands in roughly the same spot as the damaged wartime one. 

 

Norman D. Landing, Forum Normandy Correspondent, June 18  2020.

 

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.

Young enough to care and enjoy militaria - Old enough to remember as surplus

 

" Life's too short for reproductions "

 

 

Life is like a tank of gas, the closer you get to a quarter tank, the faster it goes 

 

.

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gif

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37 minutes ago, Johan Willaert said:

 

The D-Day Festival as we know it today 

 

 

Johan,

 

Thank you so very much for this great look thru the history of the D-Day events in Normandy. I really appreciate you taking the time to tell us about the events. It does sound like the earlier days before it became so big were the more enjoyable days. I didn't realize your love of bicycles came after your love of jeeps. I am sure you have made lots of great friends over the years. 

 

Thanks again for the trip down memory lane...Kat

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17 minutes ago, General Apathy said:

.

Then & Now Normandy . . . . . . . . 

 

I had to make a trip to Carentan this morning so whilst there I took the opportunity to drive out to capture this comparison below. The old farmhouse pre-dates WWII and probably WWI as well, however it is now empty and falling into a state of deterioration as it stands close to a traffic roundabout. At the time of the change from a junction to a roundabout it was allowed to remain there as the old lady that sat outside it daily had lived there all her life. 

 

.

 

Ken,

 

Great comparisons. It looks like such a nice street and farmhouse. It makes me wonder how many people drive this road every day with no clue the events that happened right in that spot. I also wonder if the lady who lived in that farmhouse when the roundabout was built also lived there when this picture was taken. 

 

...Kat

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2 hours ago, cutiger83 said:

 

Johan,

I am sure you have made lots of great friends over the years. 

 

That is the main reason we like to return to Normandy every year....
Below a photo taken at Ken's place in 2014... An Englishman, American, Welshman and Belgian....

101823114_2667524746825562_3559236322998616064_n.jpg

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1 hour ago, Johan Willaert said:

 

That is the main reason we like to return to Normandy every year....
Below a photo taken at Ken's place in 2014... An Englishman, American, Welshman and Belgian....

 

 

Great picture! I think Ken's house must be THE best place to have a party! 

 

...Kat

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2 hours ago, Johan Willaert said:

 

That is the main reason we like to return to Normandy every year....
Below a photo taken at Ken's place in 2014... An Englishman, American, Welshman and Belgian....

101823114_2667524746825562_3559236322998616064_n.jpg

Fashionable shirts know no international borders!

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4 hours ago, cutiger83 said:

 

Johan,

 

Thank you so very much for this great look thru the history of the D-Day events in Normandy. I really appreciate you taking the time to tell us about the events. It does sound like the earlier days before it became so big were the more enjoyable days. I didn't realize your love of bicycles came after your love of jeeps. I am sure you have made lots of great friends over the years. 

 

Thanks again for the trip down memory lane...Kat

I will second Kat's comments. Chances are I will never be there in person.  So seeing it from those of you who have been there is the best I can hope for.

 

Thanks!

 

Mikie 

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4 hours ago, General Apathy said:

.

Then & Now Normandy . . . . . . . . 

 

I had to make a trip to Carentan this morning so whilst there I took the opportunity to drive out to capture this comparison below. The old farmhouse pre-dates WWII and probably WWI as well, however it is now empty and falling into a state of deterioration as it stands close to a traffic roundabout. At the time of the change from a junction to a roundabout it was allowed to remain there as the old lady that sat outside it daily had lived there all her life. 

 

Sadly a very dull and overcast day today when I took the image. Notice that a concrete pylon stands in roughly the same spot as the damaged wartime one. 

 

Norman D. Landing, Forum Normandy Correspondent, June 18  2020.

 

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Great T&N!  Nice that they didn't kick the old lady out.  Wonder what she had seen sitting outside there all those years.  

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5 hours ago, General Apathy said:

.

Then & Now Normandy . . . . . . . . 

 

I had to make a trip to Carentan this morning so whilst there I took the opportunity to drive out to capture this comparison below. The old farmhouse pre-dates WWII and probably WWI as well, however it is now empty and falling into a state of deterioration as it stands close to a traffic roundabout. At the time of the change from a junction to a roundabout it was allowed to remain there as the old lady that sat outside it daily had lived there all her life. 

 

Sadly a very dull and overcast day today when I took the image. Notice that a concrete pylon stands in roughly the same spot as the damaged wartime one. 

 

Norman D. Landing, Forum Normandy Correspondent, June 18  2020.

 

.fullsizeoutput_562c.jpeg.a5bcf5738ed03cb52c97761e0583375e.jpeg

 

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Interesting Then and Now, Ken. Just a quick observation: going by its muzzle brake it looks like they are operating a British 6 pounder anti tank gun

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Never give in - never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.

 

Churchill

 

Keep buggering on.

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Hi everyone, I'll be back soon with some contributions. It's been a bit busy over here….

 

Rene

Never give in - never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.

 

Churchill

 

Keep buggering on.

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40 minutes ago, Dogsbody said:

Interesting Then and Now, Ken. Just a quick observation: going by its muzzle brake it looks like they are operating a British 6 pounder anti tank gun

 

The 101st AB Division's 81st AAA Bn fielded the British 6 Pounder....

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On 6/18/2020 at 3:45 PM, cutiger83 said:

 

Ken,

 

Great comparisons. It looks like such a nice street and farmhouse. It makes me wonder how many people drive this road every day with no clue the events that happened right in that spot. I also wonder if the lady who lived in that farmhouse when the roundabout was built also lived there when this picture was taken. 

 

...Kat

.

Hi Kat,  I think it was known locally that she lived there during the war and spent her later life sat outside her doorway almost every day. Several hundred yards to the rear of this building stand two farms that were taken over as command posts by US forces. 

 

Norman D. Landing, Forum Normandy Correspondent, June 19  2020.

 

.

.

Young enough to care and enjoy militaria - Old enough to remember as surplus

 

" Life's too short for reproductions "

 

 

Life is like a tank of gas, the closer you get to a quarter tank, the faster it goes 

 

.

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On 6/18/2020 at 5:49 PM, Johan Willaert said:

 

That is the main reason we like to return to Normandy every year....
Below a photo taken at Ken's place in 2014... An Englishman, American, Welshman and Belgian....

101823114_2667524746825562_3559236322998616064_n.jpg

.

Hi Johan,  six years gone already since that photo was taken, which reinforces my analogy . . . . . . . . . . . 

 

' Life is like a tank of gas, the closer to a quarter tank you get, the faster it goes '.  . . . . . . . . . . . 

 

maybe next year we will all meet up again . . . . . . . . . . 

 

Norman D. Landing, Forum Normandy Correspondent, June 19  2020.

 

.

.

Young enough to care and enjoy militaria - Old enough to remember as surplus

 

" Life's too short for reproductions "

 

 

Life is like a tank of gas, the closer you get to a quarter tank, the faster it goes 

 

.

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On ‎6‎/‎18‎/‎2020 at 3:38 PM, cutiger83 said:

I didn't realize your love of bicycles came after your love of jeeps.

 

Thx Kat, Yes next to Jeeps, Harleys and handcarts, I have always had a keen interest in WW2 Military bicycles, especially American ones...

When I was about 10 in the mid-1970s I watched 'From Here to Eternity' for the first time and in one of the scenes a Sgt rides a G519 WW2 US Army bicycle...

Being from Belgium, which is a cycling nation, I was hooked on those bikes and just had to get one...

Still took me until about 2003 to find a correct example and I now have three; a Men's model from both makers Huffman and Westfield Columbia and an ultrarare Women's model made by Westfield Columbia which my wife and daughter enjoy...

I love to take them to shows to just ride around... Always dozens of Jeeps at shows but I'm pretty much the only US bike rider there...

Below a family portrait of my three bikes taken in our back yard...

If you'd like to learn about these, please see my website at: http://www.theliberator.be/militarybicycles.htm

3xG519.jpg

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1 hour ago, Johan Willaert said:

I watched 'From Here to Eternity' for the first time and in one of the scenes a Sgt rides a G519 WW2 US Army bicycle...

 

Still from 'From Here to Eternity'...

ColumbiaFromHTE.jpg

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I think many of us have seen our fair share of war memorials/statues etc. I came across this photo on the net and  I really like the subtle approach that the designer came up with. Unfortunately I have no idea where this is.

Rene

 

 

skft-9db226dd33dbe879292e1618f0048cda.jpg.e1f3cf1e50f29756a41c55a5a9167d75.jpg

 

Never give in - never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.

 

Churchill

 

Keep buggering on.

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1 hour ago, Dogsbody said:

I think many of us have seen our fair share of war memorials/statues etc. I came across this photo on the net and  I really like the subtle approach that the designer came up with. Unfortunately I have no idea where this is.

Rene

 

 

skft-9db226dd33dbe879292e1618f0048cda.jpg.e1f3cf1e50f29756a41c55a5a9167d75.jpg

 

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Hi Rene, this Art Deco balustrade is situated at the Victory Memorial Parkway WWI Monument - Minneapolis, Minnesota. The whole of the monument is very decorative and worth seeing should anyone make a visit.

 

Norman D. Landing, Forum Normandy Correspondent, June 20  2020.

 

.

 

 

.

Young enough to care and enjoy militaria - Old enough to remember as surplus

 

" Life's too short for reproductions "

 

 

Life is like a tank of gas, the closer you get to a quarter tank, the faster it goes 

 

.

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