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Pegasus Bridge and the Pegasus Memorial Museum

Listed under World War II Battlefields in Normandy, France.

  • Photo of Pegasus Bridge and the Pegasus Memorial Museum
  • Photo of Pegasus Bridge and the Pegasus Memorial Museum
  • Photo of Pegasus Bridge and the Pegasus Memorial Museum
  • Photo of Pegasus Bridge and the Pegasus Memorial Museum
  • Photo of Pegasus Bridge and the Pegasus Memorial Museum
  • Photo of Pegasus Bridge and the Pegasus Memorial Museum
Photo of Pegasus Bridge and the Pegasus Memorial Museum
Photo by flickr user charlo.be
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The battles that took place for Pegasus Bridge, and Horsa Bridge a few hundred metres to the east were the very first actions of the D-Day invasions.  On the night of the 5th of June, 1944, six gliders carrying 181 men set off from Dorset to take these two positions on the Orne River, which were about to become very strategic for the invasion that followed.  Five gliders landed within 100 metres of the bridge and  men piled out and attacked the surprised German guards.  Lieutenant Den Botheridge became the first loss of D-Day when he was shot leading his men across the bridge, but her was one of only two men who died and the operation was completed in ten minutes, and 20 minutes later they were reinforced by the 7th Battalion Parachute Regiment.  

These days the bridge is part of a memorial museum, which the Prince of Wales opened on the 60th anniversary of D-Day landing.  The actual bridge has been replaced, but is kept on the site on the eastern side.  Lt. Botheridge's grave is in a churchyard next to the cemetery at Ranville, it has a plaque on it, which is like a thank you from the family of the first house liberated on D-Day.  

Before the action, the bridge, which is one of those steel movable ones, was called Bénouville Bridge, but after the action it was renamed after the insignia on the shoulders of the soldier who took it.  

There's a bit about the taking of the bridge in the film 'The Longest Day'. 

 

Written by  Toby Bright.

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