Late on Thursday 19 April, 18 members of Year 8 and three members of staff caught the overnight ferry from Portsmouth to Normandy.
After an early breakfast, we drove to Pointe du Hoc where the American Rangers landed early on D-Day and climbed 100ft cliffs to destroy the huge German guns that could destroy ships far out in the English Channel. It was an incredible sight to see the destruction of massive concrete structures and the size of the shell holes. We then went to the American War Cemetery where over 9,000 servicemen are buried, including some of the Rangers who fought at Pointe du Hoc. After buying lunch at a French supermarket and practising our French skills, we looked around the town of Falaise and the castle there where William the Conqueror was born. Special iPads let us see what life in the castle was like when William was alive. The centre we stayed at was on Juno Beach where Canadian troops landed on D-Day. It was strange playing on a beach where intense fighting took place over 75 years ago.
The next day, we saw the surprisingly long Bayeux Tapestry and the Cathedral where it originally hung. The local market was full of interesting local produce and provided another opportunity to practice our French. We then visited the biggest and smallest Commonwealth cemeteries and paid our respects to the brave soldiers and learnt many fascinating and moving stories. The tour ended at a cider farm where they made very tasty apple juice.
On the last day at Arromaches, where a huge port the size of Dover was built in two weeks after D-Day, we were lucky enough to meet veteran Mervyn Kersh, who told us about his experiences of the WWII and how he survived many frightening encounters with the enemy. Some fresh crepes and a ride on a carousel ended our visit to France before we caught the ferry home feeling exhausted after a full and fascinating trip.