Updated on 13 June 2020
Reading time: 2 minutes
Thanks to its unique geographical position and wealth of resources the Duchy of Normandy has been central to the history of England and France. The possession of this coveted land in which a fifth of the resources of the entire French territory were locked in its soil has produced a bloody history and a string of outstanding personalities: Rollo, William the Conqueror, Richard the Lionheart, Joan of Arc…..
Sharing the Viking inheritance, in 1066 the Bastard Duke William created the Anglo-Norman kingdom from which all else flowed, from the Hundred Years War to the second successful invasion, in 1944, when the UK became the springboard to liberate Europe: “We, once conquered by William, returned to set free his native land”. (Citation engraved on the Memorial to the Missing, Bayeux). The history of Normandy had come full circle.
The Second World War cemeteries are just one way in which the land is marked by the three-month battle of Normandy. On June 6th 1944 young men came from the New World and the Old to batter their way across our beautiful countryside to engage in mortal close combat every bit as bloody as their medieval forebears. They came to restore freedom to present and future generations, something for our children and grandchildren to be reminded of – that freedom isn’t free.