We found this emotional set of images, showing Le Havre before and after the bombing of 1944, tucked in amongst some ordinary vintage postcards at the Foire des Andaines.
The photos have been carefully composed by someone who thought we should not forget, and they tell the story of Operation Astonia in ways words cannot.
For some months after D-Day, Le Havre in Normandy was still occupied by the German army. The town was also strategically vital so the Allies agreed to a desperate plan to reclaim it – the unforgiving ‘Operation Astonia’.
Allied bombs rained on Le Havre during the night of 5 & 6 September. The bombardment was so intense, so terrible, that it became known as the ‘storm of iron and fire’. Just to make sure, bombing continued for another three days.
Le Havre was finally liberated on 12 September but at appalling cost. 5000 people had died, 12,500 buildings had been destroyed, the port was devastated (partly by departing Germans) and some 350 wrecks clogged the sea bed. Hundreds of years of history, of memories, destroyed. The price of freedom.
“Du Havre – ce qui fut ce qui est”
This folder of images was called by the photographer “of Havre – what was and what is”.
Can you find these views today?
If you have a recent photo of any of these views please email us, we would be delighted to add your picture (with full credits) to show the modern story of Le Havre alongside the lost.