Aug 192014

Our final tourist stop on the 5th Unlock the Past cruise was Honfleur in France. 

This has particular significance for me as one of the excursions was to a site of one of the Normandy D-Day landings at Arromanches. 

My grandfather died during World War Two as a result of a training accident in the preparation for the D-Day landings and 2014 is the 70th anniversary of those landings and of his death.

On the way to Arromanches we stopped at Ranville War Cemetery one of the many, many War Cemeteries in France. It is beautifully maintained but a sobering place with the rows and rows of graves.

There are a number of graves of soldiers in the churchyard who were the first soldiers killed. These were not moved to the War Cemetery when all the other soldiers achieved their last resting place.

Among the soldiers graves in the churchyard are also some German soldiers.

Sadly there are a number of unknown soldiers, just some of those people who will never be named.
At Ranville War Cemetery there was the entryway with this enclosure. Within this alcove there was a list of the soldiers buried within the cemetery and their location which i was perusing when Rosemary took this picture.
The sky was a bright blue which seemed quite wrong when you were walking around the cemetery, it seemed as if it should have been grey in memory of all the lives lost.
From there we went to Arromanches, one of the D-Day landing sites. Gold was the code name for this  D-Day landing beach that Allied forces used to invade German-occupied France on 6 June 1944. The primary D–Day objective there was to establish a beachhead. 
This was crucial for the deployment of the artificial Mulberry harbour which was a major engineering feat and you can read more about this  here.  Without this harbour and unloading site the Allies would not have been able to have a continued supply of equipment for the offensive.  The building of the artificial harbour was done in secret in a number of sites in England then taken across and set up. Quite amazing!
At Arromanches there was also this quite lovely carousel and thank you Rosemary for these last three images as my camera battery decided it had done enough work for the day.

We were visiting the museum which told the story of the Mulberry Harbour and the Landings.

The skies had darkened a bit by this time and we saw the first showers of the entire cruise while we were on the bus back to the ship.

Once back on the ship it was time for “Manorial Records” with Paul Blake which was another informative talk. I have used some manorial records in from Ashford in Kent which is the area where I have my earliest Quested in my One Name Study. Paul’s talk was on at the same time as Jackie Depelle’s talk on “Ideas for researching nonconformist ancestors” which was a shame as I also have a number of Non-conformists in my tree but the only way of having all the talks would be to double the length of the cruise.

Then it was time to listen to Lisa Louise Cooke on “How to reopen and work a genealogical cold case” which again took you through re-looking at your data to see how to break down those brick walls. This was opposite “Matchmaking and marriage customs in the 19th century rural Ireland” with Sean Ó Dúill which I would have liked to have heard but again a matter of choices.

Then a short break before the closing activity of the which I’ll talk about in the final post about the cruise.

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