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Pegasus Bridge, Normandy France

Pegasus Bridge is a bascule bridge, that was built in 1934, that crossed the Caen Canal, between Caen and Ouistreham, in Normandy, France.

Also known as the Bénouville Bridge after the neighbouring village, it was, with the nearby Ranville Bridge over the river Orne, later renamed Horsa Bridge, a major objective of the British airborne troops during Operation Deadstick, part of Operation Tonga in the opening minutes of the Allied invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944 during the Second World War. A unit of Glider infantry of the 2nd Battalion, the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, British 6th Airborne Division, commanded by Major John Howard, was to land, take the bridges intact and hold them until relieved. The successful taking of the bridges played an important role in limiting the effectiveness of a German counter-attack in the days and weeks following the Normandy invasion.

In 1944 it was renamed Pegasus Bridge in honour of the operation. The name is derived from the shoulder emblem worn by the British airborne forces, which is the flying horse Pegasus.

Images of Pegasus Bridge

Memorial Pegasus

Memorial Pegasus at Ranville in Lower Normandy is a museum and memorial to the 6th Airborne Division in the Normandy landings and particular Operation Deadstick. Inaugurated on June 4th 2000 by HRH the Prince of Wales. The Memorial Pegasus is dedicated to the men of 6th Airborne Division and their role during the Battle of Normandy from June to September 1944. The museum was designed and constructed within a few months by the D-Day Commemoration Committee presided by Admiral Brac de la Perrière.

Guided visits, within a thematically laid out exhibition hall, enable the visitors to discover the missions of the division. Missions carried out before the seaborne landings on the beaches in June 1944, The Longest Day. Hundreds of historical objects and photos of the era are presented in the museum. The original Bénouville Bridge, renamed Pegasus Bridge after the liberation, is on display in the park of the museum along with a Bailey bridge and a full size copy of a wartime Horsa glider. The collection is constantly increasing in size, the historical relevancy to 6th Airborne Division is carefully controlled by the British Airborne Assault Normandy Trust.

http://memorial-pegasus.com

Ranville War Cemetery

The Ranville War Cemetery is a Second World War cemetery containing predominantly British soldiers killed during the early stages of the Battle of Normandy. It is located in and named after Ranville in the Calvados department, east of Caen in lower Normandy. A large proportion of those interred were members of the British 6th Airborne Division.

The village of Ranville was the first to be liberated by elements of the British 6th Airborne Division on the morning of 6 June 1944 (D-Day) when the nearby bridge (Pegasus Bridge) was attacked and captured. The cemetery contains the grave of Lieutenant Den Brotheridge – considered to be the first Allied death on D-Day.[1]

The churchyard was immediately used to accommodate battlefield dead. Following the end of the war, the war cemetery was created which gathered burials from locations including Amfreville, Colleville-sur-Colombelles, Houlgate, Orne and Villers-sur-Mer

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