D-Day Overlord website press review
D-Day Overlord website data
Daily Mail – Leon Watson
April 25th, 2013
The D-Day Overlord website of Marc Laurenceau is the origin of the cancellation of a commercial project of several Norman tourist offices aiming to create a “Mythical sector of the landing beaches”. The information was relayed in the English press:
“D-Day veterans have protested after a new French Second World War tourism campaign ignored one of the Normandy beaches where British troops went ashore.
Six tourist boards along the Normandy coast launched the new D-Day initiative to promote what it calls the ‘Secteur mythique’ – or mythical sector where action took place.
It stretches from Utah and Omaha in the west to Gold and Juno beaches where Allied troops from the U.S., UK and Canada went ashore.
But the campaign stops short of Sword Beach in the east, where 700 British soldiers were killed or wounded on June 6, 1944.
Sword Beach was the code name given by Second World War Allied commanders to one of the five main landing areas along the Normandy coast during the D-Day landings, or Operation Overlord as it is sometimes known.
It stretches roughly five miles from Ouistreham to Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer. It was the eastern-most beach of the Normandy landings.
The Allied forces most heavily involved in the assault on Sword Beach were the British 3rd Infantry Division. Various brigades were attached to the main assault group.
Significant, and emblematic from a French standpoint, was the inclusion of the 1st Special Service Brigade within which was comprised the Free French Commandos.
From the Allies’ point of view, it was important and highly symbolic that French forces should be included as part of the D-Day invasion, contributing to the liberation of their own country.
One of those veterans who went ashore, Royal Artillery signaller Albert Owens, now 88, told of his dismay at the decision.
He said: ‘A lot lost their lives in that area. It seems to be an insult to their memory to leave them out. If you are going to promote some of the beaches, you should promote them all.’
The tourist board decision has also been criticised by the local regional council of Basse-Normandie as well as the French Normandie-Mémoire and D-Day Committee associations.
The latter two D-Day organisations already support tourism and commemorations for all municipalities right along all sectors of the D-Day Normandy beaches, recognising the contribution and sacrifice of troops of all nationalities.
They have been remembering D-Day for almost 70 years, 2014 marking the 70th anniversary of the Normandy Landings.
Towns associated with Sword Beach have also expressed their strong dissatisfaction with the tourist boards’ decision which they say has everything to do with tourism and nothing to do with history.
A spokesman for The Battle of Normandy website, D-Day Overlord.com, Marc Laurenceau, slammed the decision, saying: ‘With such an initiative, six tourist offices… develop history tourism without worrying about history.
‘What they consider is money. The American sector and the town of Arromanches (included in this so-called ‘mythical sector’) attract more than 85 per cent of the Battle of Normandy tourists.
‘Instead of making an effort on Sword Beach and the Commonwealth drop zones, these six tourist offices just care about the most popular areas.
‘What will British and French veterans who landed at La Brèche-d’Hermanville on D-Day think? What will be the thoughts of those who were parachuted northeast of Ranville?
‘What about their fallen comrades, killed to free a piece of land that is not considered “mythical” enough according to these six tourist offices?’
Mr Laurenceau has demanded an urgent re-think by the six Normandy tourist boards involved, calling upon them to cancel the ‘Mythical Sector’ project as it’s presently configured.
A petition has also been launched by D-Day Overlord.com calling for the abandonment of what they see as a tourist project disrespectful to the fallen heroes of Sword Beach.
This year’s general assembly of the landings organising committee – the Comité du Débarquement – confirmed the 69th annual D-Day commemoration events will centre on Vierville-sur-Mer, honouring U.S troops who took part in the D-Day landings on the adjacent Omaha beach.”