Battlefield Tours - Canada D-Day
Canadian D-Day Experience – Full Day
Explore with your licensed driver-guide the details of Overlord operation and discover key Canadian D-day sites and the different divisions (Infantry, Airforce, Support) involved in the landing of Juno area. During that highly personalised tour, your guide will give you some full explanations to better understand what went wrong and what went right for each battlefield site. By the end of your visit, you will understand the strategic choices for the Allied invasion of Normandy and you will feel that you have proudly fulfilled your duty of remembrance by paying tribute to all those young men who sacrificed themselves to save France, Europe and the world.
Your private driver-guide will share the highlights of Juno sector. Your day will start at the Ardenne Abbey built in the 12th century and occupied by the monks until the French revolution. In the 20th century, the place was under the control of a farmer Jacques Vico and became under the German occupation a training camp for the the French resistance. A few weeks before D-day, the buildings were occupied by the Hitlerjugend Division or called the Baby division (12 SS division). Today a Memorial commemorates a tragic event that happened there with the execution of 24 Canadian soldiers.
On the way to go to Juno beach, you will see two Memorials dedicated to the North Nova Scotia Highlanders and to the Sherbrooke Fusiliers Regiment. One stop will be held to Hell's corner where the Canadians resist repetitive attacks by the Germans and bombardments for a month until the victory at the Carpiquet aerodrome on July 4. We will stop in Anguerny (Elm line), where the 3 Canadian Regiments (La Chaudière, the Queen's Own Rifles and the Fort Garry Horse) set up their camp for the night. An inukshuk, a stack of human-shaped stones from the Inuit tradition, symbolizes brotherhood, mutual respect and friendship between peoples.
To conclude the morning, you will pay tribute to the 2.049 brave and young Canadians who are buried in that small Cemetery in Bény-Reviers before you gather at the Canada House where a memorial has been erected in honour of the Queen's Own Rifles Regiment and the Fort Garry Horse Armoured Division who paid a heavy price in the assault. Not far away, you will see the Hotel Graves, the headquarters for the Canadian and British War correspondents.
After the lunch break, you will head to Juno Beach Centre, its park and the landing beaches where the Regina and all Canadian Scottish regiments landed. Juno Beach Center presents the story of a new nation, the civilian war effort of the entire population, the early involvment of the country to help England to fight the Nazis as well as the various Canadian campaigns through Europe and even Asia. The park is very interesting too to go for a a pleasant walk and see some remains of the atlantic wall (strongpoints, tobrouk, command post ...), a Churchill AVRE tank (Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers), armed with a 290mm gun used to destroy enemy fortifications. On June 6, 1944, "One Charlie" got stuck in the mud 100 m from the shore and remained there until 1977 when it was excavated, restored and offered on display. Closed to the char, you can't miss the Cosy's Pillbox, easily recognisable by its tilt, which was the site of fierce fighting on 6th June 1944. Juno sector is the place who received the Prime Minister Churchill, the first steps of Charles de Gaulle since his exile in England and King of England. That is why today is erected a huge silver Lorraine French resistance cross to mark to return of Charles de Gaulle in France.
The day will conclude with the Last Post Ceremony under the Menin Gate Memorial commemorating more than 54,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers, among them 7,000 Canadians who died in the area and have no known grave. Return to departure point.
Additional Canadian Memorial Sights and places of interest
Vimy is still present in Canadian memory because of the stunning victory of Canadian troops at the Battle of Arras in April 1917. The memorial was ingared in 1936 and is the work of Toronto sculturer Walter Allward. This memorial is first and foremost a testimony to peace, listing the 11,000 Canadians who died in France and who have no known grave. Located at the top of the ridge, one understands the strategic importance of this site to the occupying forces. You can explore the trenches and tunnels.
If you want to live an unforgettable experience and know the living conditions of the soldiers inside a limestone quarry, we strongly recommend the Wellington Quarry, 15 minutes from Vimy. There was no Canadian presence but 20 meters underground, 24000 British soldiers and New Zealand Tunnellers built a city underneath the town. 8 kilometers of trenches were built between October 1916 and March 1917. You will see graffiti drawn by soldiers, a chapel, dormitories, the officers' office, signals, authentic artifacts.
Beaumont-Hamel Memorial & Newfoundland Regiment
Canadian troops did not take part in the fighting until September 1916. But the then-independent Dominion of Newfoundland participated from day one by being attached to the 29th British Division. In the offensive of July 1, 2016, the Newfoundland Regiment lost 684 of its 800 men in 45 minutes to capture the village of Beaumont-Hamel. The park still bears the scars of the battle with British and German trench lines still visible.
Canada's major participation in the Somme campaign began with the capture of the village of Courcelette where a memorial was erected to commemorate the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Located outside the village, some of these heroes are buried in nearby cemeteries. There are many fascinating sites in the Somme region but the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing in Actions is worth a stop as it dominates the skyline and the surrounding battlefields.
Pick-up/Drop-off places: Bayeux or Caen. Other places on request
Pick-up time/Drop-off time: flexible
Duration: 8 hours with 1 h for lunch time
The Ardenne Abbey
The North Nova Scotia Highlanders Memorial
The Sherbrooke Fusiliers Regiment Memorial
Anguernry (part of the ELM line) and Inukshuk
The Canadian Cemetery in Bény-Reviers
The Canada House
The Hotel Graves
Juno Beach Center and park
Entrance fees or tasting fees, unless mentioned
Gratuities for the driver/guide
Meals and drinks, unless specified