#LeGrandTour2014 – Bayeux & Beyond: Days 12-16

For anyone with no interest in any military history….feel free to pass on through…Bye, catch you on the next instalment!

Day 12: We sallied forth to the city of Bayeux. A great place to spend a few days. The city is small, historical and generally a nice place to be around. We stayed on the municipal campsite which is called:  Camping Bayeux Bords de L’aure. The site is safe, secure and only a ten minute pleasant walk along the the river bank into the city centre. At €18pn with full EHU and facilities, it’s a great way to blag yourselves a city break on the cheap. We saw tenters, caravanners and motorhomers making use of the site. We even spotted a Landrover rig, which drew admiring glances from passers by…everyone loves a landy.

A Brits Land Rover set up. Very impressive.

The city itself is dominated by the impressive cathedral, which is a useful marker, when you’re walking into the city. The centre is a maze of small narrow streets, dotted with restaurants and small bars. 

Day 13: Random Incident Alert!  Today I drank water from the dogs water bottle that was cunningly concealed alongside all the other water bottles in the van fridge!. When I asked the “Other Half” why the dogs water was in the fridge?…she replied “Oh the wee pet loves his water chilled”…Oh Jeez! But then to add insult to the tape worms I was probably now carrying, I looked down and noticed that she was wearing my Bridgedale Socks…She swears I told her she could have them….The trouble is my memory’s so poor, she knows she will get away with her brazen criminality…Note to self…write it all down…if you can remember to!

The bottle of tape worms and the stolen socks!

Day 14: The Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery. We walked to the nearby vets surgery to get the Mutts wormed prior too his trip back through the Tunnel later in the week. We then continued into the city centre and walked a short distance beyond to the War Cemetery.

This is the largest WW2 cemetery in France and it includes friend and foe. Over 4000 souls lie here, including in excess of 600 men who died on D-Day 6th June 1944. I found it an overwhelming experience, which surprised me…..trooping around military cemeteries was part of my past service life.  Later I analysed my feelings and concluded that unlike the Dunkirk men 4yrs before who were mainly older regular servicemen, if these men had survived I would have gone to school with their kids. My Dad would have propped up the bar with them in the 1960’s/70’s etc. They were my parents friends, friends of friends and wartime comrades. Indeed I joined the army in 1977, the year that WO2 Bill Street BEM left my battalion. He had fought with the men lying here as an 18yr old with 4 RWF, many of my slightly older mates had served directly under Bill, so the connections I suppose are a lot tighter

We will remember them.

The Bayeux Memorial. On the side of each pillar is inscribed all of then with “No Known Grave.”

My own regiments missing men. More on these below.

After, we went back into the city centre and enjoyed lunch at a street cafe, with Mutts once again under the table, he really is getting used to the routine. The meal was good, but as typical brits, we weren’t overly impressed with the size of the coffee cups and nibbles…I know; Philistines!

The “Other Half” smiling, before she clocked the size of the coffee cups and treats!

The Gulliver wine glass, amongst the tiny-world coffee cups and treats!

Later The Mutts happily posed for a family shot.

Day 15: Evrecy and Le Crotoy  We left Bayeux and drove directly to Evrecy just south of Caen. My own regiment landed at Normandy on the 24th June 1944. One of their most bloody engagements would occur within 3 weeks centred around the village of Evrecy. We deployed 3 battalions, all of them TA units with virtually no operational experience. The task to take the high ground of Hill 113 was virtually impossible to achieve in this wide open country, dominated by the enemy anti-tank weapons and unobstructed fields of fire. Between 15th-17th July 1944 over 120 of the men had died, with 100’s more injured and maimed. 

The Evrecy Memorial to the Men of 4th 6th and 7th RWF

We spent that night at an Aire at Le Crotoy, north of Le Havre, after putting a couple of 100kms on the clock, as we start the trundle back towards Calais. The site was fine, basically a car park for motorhomes in sand dunes behind a long expanse of beach. Cost €5 pn. There are actually two aires in the resort, I wanted the “picturesque one”, however the “Other Half” decided unilaterally to navigate to the other “non-picturesque” one, which she claimed was fine(which it was in fairness, but I won’t tell her that) This morning when Papa Lazarou and his travelling circus pitched up next to us,…I kid you not, A Full Circus! I struggled not to wear that smug look of “Oh I told you so…”

Day 16: We are now a few kilometres south of Calais on a coastal campsite at Camping Municipal Les Ajoncs at Audresselles, just below Cap Gris Nez. 

Pre-Tunnel Booze Run tomorrow!

C’est tout!

2 Comments

Filed under #LeGrandeTour2014

2 responses to “#LeGrandTour2014 – Bayeux & Beyond: Days 12-16

  1. Another great diary entry. Follow and read your blog, military history and all. One day we will make it over to France in the Topaz.

  2. So soon to be going home. Hope you had a great time and it will be longer next time.

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