Lūneburg Heath Memorial

On this day in 1945 Field Marshall Bernard Law Montgomery signed the declaration of surrender of German troops in Holland, Northern Germany and in Denmark bringing to an end the fighting for his 21st Army Group. Monty was the first Allied commander to bring the Germans to the table for an unconditional surrender, and events…

WW2 Book Review: Over The Battlefield

Over The Battlefield: Operation Goodwood by Ian Daglish (Pen & Sword 2015, ISBN 978 1 84415 153 0, 272pp, illustrated, paperback, £14.99) The ‘Over The Battlefield’ series of books by Pen & Sword and authored by Ian Daglish take a different angle when examining some of the key battles of the Normandy Campaign by using…

Musée de la Reddition, Reims

Today was my first day with fellow battlefield guides from Leger Holidays in a long trip following events in Western Europe in 1945. We started at Reims where one of the three surrenders in May 1945 took place. The Musée de la Reddition, or Surrender Museum, in Reims commemorates the American led signing of the…

WW2 Book Review: Stout Hearts

Stout Hearts: The British and Canadians in Normandy 1944 By Ben Kite (Helion & Company 2014, ISBN 978 1 909982 55 0, 467pp, illustrations, colour maps, £29.95) The story of British and Commonwealth troops in the Normandy campaign is often overshadowed by the American contribution; often due to the way the conflict was written about…

Luttange: The First British Army Casualty of WW2

The small village of Luttange in Eastern France, is well off the tourist trail. War swept across it three times in less than a century and at the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939 the area was protected by a section of the main Maginot Line. British troops came to Luttange during…

Cavendish Road, Cassino

The Cavendish Road was an old mule track up the mountain side between the village of Caira and the ground beneath the monastry at Monte Cassino. In preparation for the Third Battle of Cassino Indian and New Zealand Engineers worked under an officer of the 4th (Indian) Division named Lt-Col E.E. Stenhouse DSO who named…

King George VI Memorial, Cassino

Tucked away and somewhat forgotten, just off the famous Route 6 west of Cassino, is a memorial column to King George VI. It commemorates his visit to the Italian battlefields and specifically Cassino in July 1944. King George liked to visit the areas where his troops had been fighting and meet the men, and as…

BEF Memorial, Risquons-Tout

When the German Blitzkrieg was unleashed on Western Europe in May 1940 the British Expeditionary Force crossed from France into Belgium and attempted to defend the River Dyle. Thrown back, units were split up and often many miles apart – cohesion was a great problem as many individual battles were fought, often in now forgotten…

British Bunkers, Gort Line

The ‘Gort Line‘ was a series of concrete bunkers built by the British Army during the Phoney War period in France during the winter of 1939/40. At this time the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) under their commander Lord Gort VC were preparing for a re-run of the Great War and static positions like these were…

Hechtel Sherman Firefly

Belgium has its far share of surviving Shermans and another example of a Sherman Firefly is found in the border town of Hechtel. This region was liberated by British troops in September 1944 and it became a marshalling area for the Guards Armoured Division during Operation Market-Garden later that month. This Sherman Firefly is painted…

Private James Stokes VC

James Stokes was a Scottish born recipient of the Victoria Cross, although both his parents were Irish and he considered himself as much Irish as Scottish. Despite his background Stokes served in North West Europe with the 1st Battalion King’s Shropshire Light Infantry and was awarded a Victoria Cross for bravery at Kerbenheim on 1st…