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Re: Normandy return?...

I could not ride down to the foot of the cliff at Longues sur Mer last June as was possible until a few years ago.
We stopped at the pavement near the guns and riding towards them would have been possible but being on our own (wife and me) I did not want to push it. Area has totally changed from what it used to be.
Unfortunately it happens everywhere.
The Ginkelse Heide and Oosterbeek area is clearly becoming a circus making it look like some fair. Although I did not attend this year (on the couch with Covid) it was clear from the pictures I saw.
I must say however that the boys of the Oosterbeek casualty station made an extremely impressive performance this year.

I really think its all about commercialisation now since there are basically no veterans attending anymore.

It does take away the special feeling I had for many years.

I really cherish the events of the 90ties and early 20 ties.

Maybe I am just getting old??



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Re: Normandy return?...

Hi Ian,

I completely agree with your view.
Even though I have been to Normandy just 3 times I've also noticed the change of 'atmosphere.'
Here in the Netherlands we have many WW2 related events which have 'grown' to gatherings with much more publicity around it to attract more and more visitors. 'Keep them rolling' is the largest club of WW2 vehicle owners and they use all possible ways to publish their events.
Since we all want our history to remain alive, especially now the number of WW2 veterans is decreasing rapidly, we enter the 'grey area' if events change more and more. I have witnessed 'professional history knowers' telling incorrect stories about vehicles, uniforms etc and bragging about their 101st or 82nd Airborne Jeep (no offence to real Jeep owners!) I feel the urge to at least show what the British motorcycles have looked like in WW2.
And for that reason I will keep on attending commemorative events on historical places as long as possible.


Re: Normandy return?...

Just remember that the north European part of the war was quite small and obviously won by the Americans. The resulting history is very corrupted. It is not my intention to upset anyone who served there or their families. You don’t have to work very hard to discover another history. Even researching war graves can tell another story to Hollywood.
Much of the early history is all but gone. The liberation of Abyssinia during the Italian war for example. The dismissal of the role India, without whom’s help the outcome would have been very different. In fact the whole British Empire coming together to save the world. I know this sits uncomfortably with some, but somehow this little country ran by idiots at all times managed to pull this off. In fact the war could have ended earlier, but that’s a controversial story.


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Re: Normandy return?...

I had a relative who was killed on D Day and I generally visit his units memorial on every trip to Normandy....He has no grave, only a record on the Memorial wall at Bayeux cemetery as his body was not recovered from his knocked out tank...
The war overall is indeed a 'bigger picture' and the sacrifices made to liberate Europe were not confined to Normandy by any means...

However, the commemorations in Normandy each year are focused on that small part of the campaign and that short period of time...
My point really is that what is being commemorated is the events of D Day, the liberation of the area and the sacrifice of life that was needed to achieve that...Bearing that in mind and particularly the last point, I personally find the rising level of commercialisation and the dilution of the commemorations with unrelated events both distasteful and disrespectful to those that paid with their lives and that as a consequence the essential message of commemoration is being lost....
I think for me I'm now more likely to visit Normandy at a completely different time of year to avoid the growing 'circus'....Ian

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Re: Normandy return?...

On my first few trips over there with the Matchless (2004-on), there were loads of veterans doing the tour who were always up for a chat. That totally made the Normandy experience for me and now that generation is fast fading away, I really have lost interest in going over yet again. Our generation of course had fathers who served in WW2 so we still have that direct link, but succeeding generations see the battle as just part of history and the Normandy coast as a WW2 theme park. Not really sad, just inevitable.

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