Aerial Photo of Pegasus Bridge

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by Drew5233, Jan 6, 2009.

  1. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    A rather good photo (I think) of the infamous bridge taken on the 6th June 1944.
    [​IMG]
    This was the scene of the first British landing on D-Day, when men of the 6th Airborne Division used gliders (which can be clearly seen in the image) to land behind enemy lines and secure the bridge over the Caen Canal. This was later re-named 'Pegasus' bridge, in honour of the badge worn by the 6th Airborne. You can really appreciate the skill of the pilots getting so close to the bridge in total darkness.

    As well as the three Horsa Gliders slightly North East of the bridge if you look directly North you can see another single aircraft (Allied?) that appears to be flying very low looking at the shadow just infront of it.
     
  2. militarycross

    militarycross Very Senior Member

    Great Photo, Drew. That was a remarkable place to visit and the museum there is out of this world. I remember looking at one of the panoramic photos and seeing a university professor in the Canadian Paras.
     
  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Further investigation.

    I found another aerial photo of the area. In this you can clearly see a mass landing in the North of the picture.
    [​IMG]
    The bridge in the bottom is the bridge over the Caen canal at Benouville (code name Ham). The French Government renamed the canal bridge "Pegasus Bridge" in recognition of the achievement of the 6th Airborne Division that night.

    The bridge over the main river is over the River Orne at Ranville (code name Jam). Forty-five years later the Mayor of Ranville unveiled a plaque to commemorate the capture of the river bridge, now named "Horsa Bridge".

    Anyone familiar with the film 'The Longest Day' will remember the radio operator transmitting the message 'Ham and Jam' (I always wondered why Ham and Jam) before Lord Lovat arrived.
     
  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I think the lone aircraft I mentioned in the first picture is a glider from a pathfinder unit.

    D-Day +3 at Pegasus Bridge and you can clearly see just how close the gliders landed to their objective.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. militarycross

    militarycross Very Senior Member

    One of the plaques commemorating that fateful time.
    MM awarded for that action.
    Some of the tools of the trade.
     

    Attached Files:

  6. Lonewolf

    Lonewolf Junior Member

    Great Pics

    Thanks--Ed
     
  7. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    As well as the three Horsa Gliders slightly North East of the bridge if you look directly North you can see another single aircraft (Allied?) that appears to be flying very low looking at the shadow just infront of it.


    It can't be , as it appears in exactly the same place in the second photo.
     
  8. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Can you see me? When I was there I had a look inside that glider nearest the bridge. We set about building bridges, but had to break off to defend the site. The enemy wanted it back at any cost. 17 planes shot down on low level attacks.
    Sapper
     
  9. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    There was no small plane there!
    sapper
     
  10. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    As well as the three Horsa Gliders slightly North East of the bridge if you look directly North you can see another single aircraft (Allied?) that appears to be flying very low looking at the shadow just infront of it.

    As Owen mentioned it is in both photos as it is another one of the gliders from the Coup de Main force which took both bridges... people often forget about Horsa Bridge, which was just as important as the more famous Pegasus.
     
  11. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    Two from Google earth of the bridge area today.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The large landing area now under housing.
     
    Paul Reed likes this.
  12. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    Good comparison, James.
     
  13. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    A very interesting thread.
    James can you put me out of my misery please, what do the small blue squares signify in both Google photos?

    If they represent planes landed, then several ended up in the water.

    Regards
    Tom
     
  14. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    what do the small blue squares signify in both Google photos?
    If you go to Google Earth and click on one you'll see a photo that someone has posted there.
     
  15. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Owen,

    Thanks for that.
    As you can tell I am computer illiterate!

    Regards
    Tom
     
  16. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    The small (Flying) aircraft. Please see the first line of post four :)

    Cheers
    Andy
     
  17. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Is quite famous in my old Regiment.

    The Corps has a picture commissioned of him called 'Go for it' which depicts him laying a Telephone Wire across the bridge whilst under fire.

    Corporal Waters was attached to 5th Parachute Brigade Headquarters during the invasion of Normandy, and for his actions on D-Day. Captain Guy Radmore, the Brigade Signals Officer, wrote the following:
    At about 1300 hours on D Day, we heard the sound of Lord Lovat’s piper. In the meantime, my party had started to lay the line from Brigade Headquarters across the two bridges. They had all been wounded from machine gunfire from the Chateau de Benouville to the south west of the canal bridge. Corporal Tom Waters, who with his wireless detachment was in reserve, on his own initiative threw three smoke grenades and got covering fire from one of our Bren guns. He then proceeded to rescue the wounded before, under intense enemy fire, taking the line across the bridges to 7th Parachute Battalion, which was resisting powerful counter attacks in Le Port. He then spent all day maintaining it.

    On the 25th June Cpl. Waters told Capt. Radmore that he thought the Germans were sending men to cut the Telephone Wires. Radmore wrote:
    He [Waters] lay up and later I met him on the road where he appeared wearing jackboots and carrying a German helmet. He had seen the German creep out of the ditch with a pair of wire cutters and had shot him.

    His citation reads:
    For conspicuous gallantry and coolness under enemy fire and devotion to duty during airborne operations in the Ranville area on 6th/7th June 1944. On 6th June Corporal Waters volunteered to bring in a wounded comrade from an exposed position, in the face of accurate enemy sniping which had already caused casualties he coolly went forward and brought in the wounded man. He then continued his duty of laying a signal line along an exposed route under constant enemy sniping and small arms fire. When this line was cut by enemy fire Corporal Waters again went out under fire and repaired it. [On several] occasions this NCO went out voluntarily and repaired communications in full view of the enemy. By his gallantry and complete disregard of personal danger Corporal Waters maintained communications between Brigade Headquarters and a Battalion holding a vital position.


    Unfortunately Cpl. Waters was seriously injured during a training accident later in the Normandy campaign. A Sergeant had pulled a pin from a live grenade and, realising this, Waters immediately threw a waste paper basket over it in an attempt to dampen the explosion. He was caught in the subsequent blast and lost his right eye, sustained damage to his right wrist, and also suffered a serious head wound which necessitated a metal plate being inserted into his skull. He returned to the UK in September 1944, and was discharged from military service on 10th May 1945, with exemplary character after 9 years and 312 days service as a regular soldier.

    The Royal Corps of Signals Commission of 'Go for it'
    [​IMG]

    In the third picture (Post 4) you can see Comms wire being layed more perminately. One would assume these are Signallers and may even be Cpl Thomas Waters (I'd like to think it is anyway.)


    Cheers
    Andy
     
  18. 52nd Airborne

    52nd Airborne Green Jacket Brat

    I think the lone aircraft I mentioned in the first picture is a glider from a pathfinder unit.

    No it's Glider chalk numbered 96. It carried Lt Fox's platoon and was the only glider to land on it's correct landing zone. LZ-Y

    Anyone familiar with the film 'The Longest Day' will remember the radio operator transmitting the message 'Ham and Jam' (I always wondered why Ham and Jam) before Lord Lovat arrived.

    Cpl Ted Tappenden was the radio operator who sent the code word "Ham & Jam".
     
    Drew5233 likes this.
  19. englandphil

    englandphil Very Senior Member

    A rather good photo (I think) of the infamous bridge taken on the 6th June 1944.
    [​IMG]
    This was the scene of the first British landing on D-Day, when men of the 6th Airborne Division used gliders (which can be clearly seen in the image) to land behind enemy lines and secure the bridge over the Caen Canal. This was later re-named 'Pegasus' bridge, in honour of the badge worn by the 6th Airborne. You can really appreciate the skill of the pilots getting so close to the bridge in total darkness.

    As well as the three Horsa Gliders slightly North East of the bridge if you look directly North you can see another single aircraft (Allied?) that appears to be flying very low looking at the shadow just infront of it.

    Drew, I think they are one and the same image just one has been blown up and confinded to bridge, this is based upon the plain to the north of the bridge, which must be just about to land, given the length of the shadow versus that of the trees. Pity we can see an image of 10 mins later as not sure if he is going to clear the tress atthe edge of the Field
     
  20. jagdpanther44

    jagdpanther44 Senior Member

    The large landing area now under housing.

    I think you may be a little disorientated, James...;)

    Here's a comparison of the area using Google Maps for the modern day pic. As you can see, the landing zones are still farming land.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    I'll make sure I get some ground level photographs of the landing zones when I'm in Normandy in June.
     

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