On this day - 6 June - in 1944, part of the British 6th Airborne Division hit French soil at 00:16; the first Allied soldiers had arrived for the D-Day invasion of occupied France. The objective was Pegasus Bridge, over which the German’s could move armoured vehicles and tanks to reinforce defenders on the beaches as the invasion hit proper later in the day.
Through some damn good flying, three Horsa gliders were landed in extremely close proximity to the target, as can be seen in images 3-5; appearing bottom right (in the photograph) in the latter. If you wish to view that rather large image in detail, right click and select ‘open image in new tab’ - at the top of the image sits the bulk of the force. As it happened, men from those aircraft secured the bridge within 10 minutes, suffering two fatalities in doing so; Lieutenant Den Brotheridge and Lance corporal Fred Greenhalgh. These men were the 2nd and 3rd Allied casualties of what would be a bloody day. The 1st occurred after the second glider to land at 00:17 broke in half on impact and came to rest on the edge of a pond. One soldier fell in and drowned.
Café Gondrée, seen
as was to the left of the bridge in image 1 and more recently in image 2, was supposedly the first French ‘home’ to be liberated from German occupation.