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Post  OVERLORD on Mon Sep 02, 2019 2:27 pm

On 2 September 1944, the village where I live now, Criquetot L'Esneval in Normandy, was liberated by soldiers of the 51st Highland division. That's 8 days after Paris, 1 day before Brussels and 2 days before Antwerp!

The soldiers arrived at the market square behind the town hall at about noon time. The division came from Bolbec, a village 10 km more east and would go south for the assault on Le Havre on 11 September. Thes pictures were taken at 12.50h as indicated by the church clock. This explais also the presence of many children.

75 years ago, my village was liberated at last Scan1012

75 years ago, my village was liberated at last Imgp0916

75 years ago, my village was liberated at last Scan1011

75 years ago, my village was liberated at last Scan1010

75 years ago, my village was liberated at last Imgp0910



There were 2 M3/M5 half tracks. The first one has the polar bear mark proper to the 51st infantry division on the left mudguard. Behind the 2nd half track was a Willy's jeep

75 years ago, my village was liberated at last Imgp0917

75 years ago, my village was liberated at last Imgp0913

75 years ago, my village was liberated at last Imgp0914

75 years ago, my village was liberated at last Imgp0912



Another vehicle that can be recognized is the Humber light reconnaissance car also with the polar bear mark.

75 years ago, my village was liberated at last Imgp0810

75 years ago, my village was liberated at last Humber10



Next to the Humber, there is a tank but I don't know what that is exactly.

75 years ago, my village was liberated at last Imgp0915

75 years ago, my village was liberated at last Imgp0918



I took this picturetoday with the same houses as can be seen on the third picture with the church tower:

75 years ago, my village was liberated at last P9020210
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Post  rsv1cox on Mon Sep 02, 2019 3:27 pm

Thanks for sharing those pictures Levin, I closely examined each one.  

I'm not sure if you attended the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landing, if you did you may have rubbed elbows with my Grandson.  

He's a member of the Colorado National Guard and was invited to fly a C-130 over to France for the celebration.  They took the Lindbergh route over but arrived to late to have invasion stripes painted on the airplane to take part in the paratrooper airdrop re-enactment.  They did however fly on the fringes with P-51's and Spitfires flying all around.  VFR.

They spent a week there and he said he never had to buy a beer.  He mentioned the old soldiers attending shared funny and serious stories about their wartime experiences among other things.

He brought me back small bottles which he had filled with sand from Omaha and Utah beaches.  They have become an important part of my display case with a P-51 hovering over with stylized invasion stripes.

75 years ago, my village was liberated at last P8310010
75 years ago, my village was liberated at last P8310011
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Post  fredvon4 on Mon Sep 02, 2019 3:31 pm

The history learned from having friends around the globe, who willingly share regional and local events, past and modern--- is invaluable to me

Thank you sir

I Love This Forum!

This Site Rocks!
Beer Cheers
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Post  ticomareado on Mon Sep 02, 2019 5:00 pm

I wonder why it took them so long to back track from Paris, Antwerp etc. to liberate this town
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Post  Cribbs74 on Mon Sep 02, 2019 8:51 pm

Really enjoyed the pictures. Too bad they tore down the buildings in front of the church.
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Post  Davenz13 on Tue Sep 03, 2019 12:39 pm


I too enjoyed those historic pictures and thank you for sharing.
I think the tank is a MkIV Cromwell.
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Post  modelbuilder49 on Tue Sep 03, 2019 4:26 pm

Excellent!!
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Post  dckrsn on Tue Sep 03, 2019 8:10 pm

Thank you Levin. France
Bob
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Post  Mark Diedrichs on Tue Sep 03, 2019 8:34 pm

Wonderful,rabbit stew all around!!! What a great day!!! Let's us not forget how it all came to be...Many soldiers gave their lives... What a great village!!! Mark
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Post  smooth_bill on Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:03 am

Lieven,

Congratulations on the 75th anniversary, of such a momentous event in history!

Those pictures were like a view into the past.

I was last in France in 1958 for a long weekend there. Some of the absolute best food I've ever eaten, and the worst coffee I ever tasted! However, it was my first taste of the finest red wine in the world, but not my last for sure.

The US Air Force sent me to Germany in 1956, to an airbase (Sembach) just outside Kaiserslautern. My first trip to town was an eye opener, as the Germans left much of the bomb damage untouched, as a reminder of the terrible cost of war.

Would love to have seen some of the small villages and rural countryside in France, but our tour was by rail (at night) to Paris, and the return trip was not much better.

Particularly enjoyed seeing the Willis Jeep. My step father bought a surplus one after he returned from the war in Europe, and it was an amazing vehicle. It was so tough that we used it for light plowing on our farm, and as transportation for the family. It never let us down.

Thank you for the tour into the past.

Bill

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Post  fredvon4 on Wed Sep 04, 2019 11:00 am

"Too bad they tore down the buildings in front of the church"

Ron look again....original buildings just remodeled facade size, angles, roofs, and most windows--- all line up with the 75 year old photo
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Post  OVERLORD on Wed Sep 04, 2019 3:51 pm

fredvon4 wrote:"Too bad they tore down the buildings in front of the church"

Ron look again....original buildings just remodeled facade  size, angles, roofs, and most windows--- all line up with the 75 year old photo

I don't know exactly what happened with those houses. They seem to have gained an extra floor at least. I'll ask my neighbour about this. Maybe he'll remember.


The vehicle I referred to as "tank" isn't a tank. The Cromwell tank also crossed my mind. They were used during the assault of Le Havre. But this one is another Humber, a Humber Armoured car.

75 years ago, my village was liberated at last Humber11

The allied forces did not turn back to liberate this particular corner of Normandy. After purifying South Normandy during June, July and the first weeks of august, the idea was to go east towards Germany. The allied armies proceeded in a sort of corridores. The 3rd  US army (Patton) went straight east, south of Paris where it reached the Seine and then towards Metz in Lorraine. The 1st US army moved together with the 3rd army eastwards and and then towards the north liberating Paris with the 2me DB of Leclerc. The 1st Army then liberated the east of Belgium and then Holland. The British 2nd army moved north, west of Paris and liberated Brussels and Antwerp. The 1st Canadian army crossed the Seine at Rouen and turned then towards the coast.

75 years ago, my village was liberated at last P9030210

This indicates 2 things: the fast progress of the allied forces after the pouch of Falaise and the little strategic interest in the part between Caen and the Seine estuary as well as in the part north of the Seine.

The 51st Highland division landed on 7 June 1944. The division was transferred to the 1st Canadian army on 1 August and after liberating Rouen, liberated, as a sort of revenge, St Valéry en Caux, the village where the same division surrendered on 12 June 1940 to Rommel.

75 years ago, my village was liberated at last Rommel10

The Canadians liberated Dieppe (of course).

You must be all fallen asleep by now. It's bed time for me too!!
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Post  Mark Diedrichs on Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:47 pm

Maybe a dumb question. When did Cox Thimble Drome models/toys start showing up after the liberation??? Just curious...Think it would make a great story!!! I'd love to hear about it!!!,Mark
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Post  Davenz13 on Wed Sep 04, 2019 6:53 pm

Yes Lieven, after closer inspection I see you are exactly right, it is a Humber armoured car.
The turrents between the two are very similar but well spotted.

Not asleep at all, I enjoy these glimpses back in history.
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Post  fredvon4 on Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:25 am

Not asleep at all, I enjoy these glimpses back in history.
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Post  fredvon4 on Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:30 am

I don't know exactly what happened with those houses. They seem to have gained an extra floor at least. I'll ask my neighbour about this. Maybe he'll remember

first photo 2 floors under peaked slate roof......

modern photo, same buildings...remodeled to be 3 floors under flat roof...

in modern photo extreme left, is still the slate peaked roof line
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Post  OVERLORD on Sat Sep 07, 2019 2:26 am

I have to correct myself. The division with the polar bear badge is the 49th West Riding and not the 51st Highland. What I wrote above about the 51st is correct though.

The 49th division landed on 13 June 1944. the division was also transferred to the 1st Canadian army on 1 August and once the river Seine crossed, the campain was parallel the to 51st only more to the west.

Below a more detailed map of army movements in my region. I find the Arrow that corrsponds to the 49th division a bit flat. It should be more curved.

75 years ago, my village was liberated at last Map_4910


Maybe this period map is a bit more realistic except for the coast line:

75 years ago, my village was liberated at last Astoni10
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