Where in Normandy was Gripper's Cross roundabout ?

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by Owen, Feb 13, 2014.

  1. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  2. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    I am trying to recollect where I have seen a similar photograph before but not as Gripper's Cross.

    Probably wrong but I think the photograph I am referring to,the roundabout was called Eros,perhaps Piccadilly. Seeing the photograph would enable a comparison to be made.

    Remember some years ago traveling on the Bayeux -Caen road and thinking of this wartime photograph.The road is now a fast flowing,busy, dual carriageway. the roundabout shown may have been incorporated into the now main road or as many sections,bypassed....far removed from the situation in 1944.
  3. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Any ideas for location of No 50 Field Dressing Station?
  4. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    a bit more info

    Traffic jam at "Gripper's Cross" (cf ACB 108, 109); American trucks move forward slowly; various signs read "half mile Main [arrow]", "Five miles Rear [arrow]", "TAF - 84 Group Rear H.Q.", "Convalescent Depot", "Recovery Vehicles", "RASC Airfreight Reception", B14 Airfield". More signs - in front of a small truck towing artillery piece - "Banville 102 BSA", "Keep Moving", "Keep to the Right", "No Entry", "No overtaking" (this one on a telegraph pole), "C.E.P.", "Star Morefield Elbow Beach, SMEB", "N172 Calvados, La Tuilerie" and, on the side of a building, "Cinzano, Le Meilleur Apéritif".

  5. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    I wonder where the name Gripper has come from....apparently there was a Norman by the name of Ralph de Griperia,the Anglicised. name being Gripper.

    But looking at the background to the shot.The photograph was taken on 8 August 1944 by a Royal Air Force photographer,P/O Saidman.

    Bayeux had fallen to the Allies on 7 June 1944 Up from Bayeux on the N13 and just south of the N13,Carpiquet airfield fell 4-7 July 1944 and Caen itself on 9 July 1944.

    "TAF 84 Group" would be the 2nd Tactical Air Force No 84 Group. Rear HQ location not identified.....one of two Groups operating in Normandy.

    At the time 84 Group was operating the following Wings.

    123 Rocket equipped Wing out of Martragny (B3( Airfield with four Typhoon squadrons:

    132 (Polish) Fighter Wing operating out of Plumetot (B10) Airfield with three Spitfire Mark 1X squadrons.

    146 Fighter Bomber Wing operating out of St Croix (B 3) Airfield with five Typhoon squadrons

    35 Reconnaissance Wing operating out of Bery sur Mer (B 4) Airfield with two Mustang Mark 1 and 11 squadrons.

    142 Long Range Fighter Wing operating out of Picauville (A 8) Airfield with two Mosquito Mark X11 and X111 squadrons.(A 8 would be a USAAF forward airfield.)

    B 14 Airfield was located at Amblie which was north of the N13 and nearer to the Normandy beaches...shown not in 2nd TAF use at the time.

    "Banville 102 BSA".Banville just south of Courseulles and Graye sur Mer beaches...102 BSA not identified.

    "CEP"; "Star Morefield Elbow Beach,SMEB" not identified.

    N172 Calvados La Tullerie is La Tulerie (shown as la Tulerie on early postwar maps) situated on the Bayeux-St Lo Road N172 and a small hamlet beside the road,a short distance from Bayeaux....must have had some significance for it to be signposted.Postwar, the road has been renumbered as two sections, the D572 and D972....gives a good ride through the beautiful Cerisy Forest.

    To aid those involved in the Normandy campaign,the Government published a reprint of the 1939 Michelin Guide and a publication entitled Normandy West of the Seine which included town maps from the 1939 Guide together with aerial reconnaissance of the towns....no doubt the printers would have been security vetted..

  6. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Just edited 'in Normandy' into thread title to attract more attention.
    I'm sure someone will know.
  7. idler

    idler GeneralList

    84 Gp Main HQ was also at Amblie alongside HQ 1 Cdn Army. After the breakout it went to Brionne, there's no mention of any other locations in the bridgehead.

    Cracked it - the Caen-Bayeux road felt like a red herring given the identifiable locations were some way to the north. The RMP history doesn't have much detail but mentions a record traffic count at the Tierceville crossroads which isn't far from Amblie and Banville.

    Anyway, cutting to the chase, IWM ACB 108 mentions the crossroads and its grid reference (often shown on signs at junctions for 'you are here' purposes but not visible in the photo).

    The grid ref 905811 is the modern D12/D22/D65 junction north of Creully.

    Could 'Gripper' be a subtle reference to Monty who was based at Creully for some time?
    Owen likes this.
  8. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    An original French road sign appears just to the left of the sign 'Grippers Cross'. A higher resolution scan would solve this in an instant.
  9. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Cheers in that case I've been to that junction.
  10. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Ruin my moment of glory, why don't you!
  11. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    The Bayeux-Caen information as given was obviously misleading and gave the impression it was the N13, while it should have been described as the Bayeux-Quistreham road.

    Passed the Tierceville crossroads before when we had an overnight stop at Crepon...a good farmhouse hotel there...then on to Arromanches.

    A sat nav would not be much help in locating Gripper.
  12. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member



    The wooded area is walled and has a rather fancy tower at the 'roundabout'.

  13. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Looking at the 1947 Michelin map, Gripper's Crossing was on the then N 814,the Bayeux - Courseulles/Graye sur Mer road. After the roundabout the road veered left and led to the beaches.The road has been altered since then and is designed as the D 12 from Bayeux to Courseulles/Graye sur Mer.Straight on is now designed as the D 35 and leads to Quistreham.During the war this was minor road, designated GC 176/GC 35.There is a memorial situated at a point roughly where the road veers to the beaches.

    The crossroads is further interesting for the curved road shown in the 1947 photograph is the then minor road, GC 22, and leads a short distance to where the Chateau de Creullet is situated. Its claim to fame is that it was Montgomery's HQ in June 1944 where he received as visitors, King George V1 and WSC.

    It looks as if the minor Departmental roads,prefixed as "GC" are now prefixed as "C"
  14. Peter Cass

    Peter Cass New Member

    Have just found this website. I realise that this thread is a few years old, but I have relevant information.

    My Dad was part of the team that built Grippers Cross roundabout. He was part of the 92nd Field Regiment Royal Engineers. They were under the control of Major Cox who was renowned in the unit for talking about "Getting to grips with the enemy". Hence 'Grippers Cross'.

    My Dad is John Cass (Sapper (ret) 14286436). He is now 97 years old and in fine health. It has really made his day finding this photo.

    Any other questions, let me know and I'll ask him.

    IWM Non Commercial Licence[/QUOTE]
    C-E B, PaulE, Chris C and 2 others like this.
  15. idler

    idler GeneralList

    That's a fantastic result - thanks to you and your dad for taking the trouble to put us out of our misery!

    Until someone thinks of some intelligent questions, wish him the best from us.
    Harry Ree likes this.

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