Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Vancouver Island, Canada
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We were at that cemetery two weeks ago and it was all roped off with no access to the graves, in preparation for D Day and some VIP visitors. I expect that some US people who came to pay their respects to a relative would have been choked that they could not lay a wreath or even get close.
We also went to Juno Beach where the Canadians landed, the museum there, the Canadian cemetery at Bény-sur-Mer, looking briefly at every one of the 2000+ graves, signing the book of remembrance.
We also visited the grave of an RCAF Pilot Officer downed in early 1943 over St-Martin-des-Entrées which is immediately east of Bayeux (of Tapestry fame), presumably on a pre-D-Day early reconnaissance flight. His name was William K. Ferguson, and the townspeople buried him in the municipal graveyard near town. Many French people came to pay their respects despite being occupied by the Nazis, and the occupiers were not pleased with the widespread sympathy for this officer and as retribution for this "transgression" sent ten of those at the service to concentration camps. Only 6 returned home after the war - 4 were murdered.
A day earlier in our trip, we were at Ypres - beautiful town - and Vimy, places where the British and Canadians played a major role in WW1. At Vimy in particular, the fierce battle that the Canadians won in the trenches happened mere days after the US joined the Allies in that war, around the tenth of April 1917.
It's all awful, and seeing the names of the 18-21 year old soldiers and airmen on tombstones is a really sobering, sad feeling.