8. Jun, 2022

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WEDNESDAY 8-06-22

It was a nice peaceful night save for a bit if pitter-pattering of rain showers. That's the problem when you're parked under a tree. It's hard to know if it has just started raining again or whether its droplets of rain which have been blown of the leaves by the breeze.

What a treat it was this morning going off to the nearby shower block for a lovely long shower without having to worry about how level the shower tray is, or how much water is being used.

It was time to move on. We had originally intended to stay two nights, but because of the unhelpful attitude of the member of staff The Chef dealt with yesterday morning, we had walked in to town and visited the Tapestry Museum, so that box got ticked a day early.

Before leaving we as always took advantage of the dump services. There wasn't much to get rid of, but every little helps. The Chef was given the task of topping up the fresh water tank while I dashed over to the toilet block to empty the toilet cassette. Unfortunately the dump station didn't include that facility right there where you need it.

Once we were done we were off. The Chef had paid them earlier when she popped down the road to buy a very tasty baguette.

It was only about six miles down the road to Arromanches, our next location. As I climbed out of the cab, having bagged us a parking space right on the front row of the grid with a great sea view, I spotted water splashed all down the side of the vehicle. When I lifted the flap covering the fresh water refilling point - oh dear! We, that is the Royal 'We', hadn't replaced the filler cap after refilling at the dump station. I think I have a spare filler cap in the 'Spares & Repairs' box, but what I didn't have to hand was another set of keys which were also still in the cap lock.

Back we went to the campsite in as much haste as the speed limits around here allow. On arrival I told The Chef to pop in to Reception to check if it had been handed in there while I legged it to the dump station to see if it was where I'd left it. I found nothing, but fortunately The Chef came up the road waving the cap and keys in her hand. That was a huge relief. So back we went, and on arrival back at the public car park/Camperstop (N49.339042° W0.615188°) we found the space we had hurriedly vacated still free, so that was a result.

So a bit about Arromanches:

Arromanches is remembered as a historic place of the Normandy landings and in particular as the place where a Mulberry Harbour artificial port was installed. This artificial port allowed the disembarkation of 9,000 tons of material per day.

It was on the beach of Arromanches that, during the Invasion of Normandy immediately after D-Day, the Allies established an artificial temporary harbour to allow the unloading of heavy equipment without waiting for the conquest of deep water ports such as Le Havre or Cherbourg. Although at the centre of the Gold Beach landing zone, Arromanches was spared the brunt of the fighting on D-Day so the installation and operation of the port could proceed as quickly as possible without damaging the beach and destroying surrounding lines of communication. The port was commissioned on 14 June 1944.

This location was one of two sites chosen to establish the necessary port facilities to unload quantities of supplies and troops needed for the invasion during June 1944, the other was built further West at Omaha Beach. The British built huge floating concrete caissons which, after being towed from England, then had to be assembled to form walls and piers forming and defining the artificial port called the Mulberry harbour. These comprised pontoons linked to the land by floating roadways. One of these ports was assembled at Arromanches and even today sections of the Mulberry harbour still remain with huge concrete blocks sitting on the sand and more can be seen further out at sea.

Some key figures: by 12 June 1944 more than 300,000 men, 54,000 vehicles, 104,000 tons of supplies had been landed. During 100 days of operation of the port 2.5 million men, 500,000 vehicles, and 4 million tons of materiel were landed. The best performance of the port was in the last week of July 1944: during those seven days the traffic through Arromanches exceeded 136,000 tons or 20,000 tons per day.

Today, Arromanches is mainly a tourist town. Situated in a good location for visiting all of the battle sites and war cemeteries, there is also a museum at Arromanches with information about Operation Overlord and in particular, the Mulberry harbours.

On 21 September 2013 Bradford-based sand sculpting company Sand in Your Eye created a tribute called "The Fallen 9,000". It was a temporary sculpture project—a visual representation of 9,000 people drawn in the sand which equates the number of civilians, German forces and Allies that died during the D-day landings. It coincided with Peace Day, and was washed away with the tide at the end of the day.