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D-Day +365 (part 2) – midweek post

‘Hop-Scotch on Omaha’ YANK magazine, 8 July 1945 – the ships in the distance are D-Day wrecks First printed in Yanks magazine on 8 July 1945, this is part 2 of a visit to Omaha and Utah Normandy beaches just one year after D-Day 6 June 1944.  In part one we heard why D-Day was so…

D-Day +365 (part 1) – midweek post

‘Now Utah beach is a quiet expanse of peaceful and monotonous sand.  An abandoned, crippled landing craft, baking in the sun, is an invasion souvenir.’ YANK magazine, 8 July 1945  First printed in Yanks magazine on 8 July 1945, this is part 1 of a visit to Omaha and Utah Normandy beaches written while the memory…

The rampant ambition of Blanchard the balloonist, from Petit Andelys

Jean Pierre François Blanchard was born in Petit Andelys, the second son of an odd-job man, on July 4, 1753.  Perhaps the vast remains of Chateau Gaillard that tower above the town inspired him to the possibilities of human endeavour.  Whatever the cause, Jean Pierre was destined to go down, sometimes literally, in history. The…

The humiliation of perfidious Guimond, from Moulins-la-Marche

This view is from the old castle, now just a hill, at Moulins-la-Marche in the Perche.  Looking out through gently swaying trees across the Perche countryside or back into the town it’s hard to believe these were once the badlands of medieval Normandy. Marche in this instance is from ‘marka’ an old Frankish word for…

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