Students explore D-Day beaches on Normandy Tour
During the Easter break, 45 Year 9 historians headed across the Channel for the History Department’s D-Day and Normandy Tour.
Their action-packed five-day tour was designed to support the students’ understanding of the planning and execution of the Allied invasion of Nazi occupied France in 1944, and the subsequent Battle of Normandy. The group was ably led by tour guide Alan Reed, who has taken numerous generations of Perse students on the D Day and First World War Battlefield tours over the years.
The group was based at Les Tourelles in the village of Asnelles-sure-Mer on Gold Beach, which was one of the beaches in the British sector of the invasion area. During their stay, the students visited all five invasion beaches – Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword – as well as areas of the paratroop and glider landings by the British 6th Airborne Division and the US 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions.
Pupils particularly enjoyed visiting the sizeable German gun battery at Longues and visiting the remains of the Mulberry floating harbour created by the British at Arromanches. History was brought to life as they visited Pont du Hoc, where American rangers scaled precipitous cliffs, as well as seeing the site of the successful British glider assault to capture the Pegasus Bridge during the first hour of D-Day. One of the highlights of the trip was when the students had the opportunity to sit in a C47 Dakota transport plane, which was used to drop American paratroops on D-Day.
This hugely successful trip gave pupils an excellent appreciation of what was needed for this enormous military operation to succeed.