Sword Beach, the British 3rd Infantry Division’ landing sector
Sword Beach sector spread on 8km from Ouistreham to Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer to the west.
It was the easternmost of the five landing beaches.
It was also the closest to Caen (15km away), the focal point of all the region’s roads.
The British 3rd Infantry Division landed on Sword Beach on D-Day.
Sword Beach War Memorials in Ouistreham
1- Free French Monument – Kieffer Monument overlooks by the beach. The gigantic flame pays tribute to all the Free French Forces who participated to D-Day.
It stands on a casemate 644 of the codified position WN 10. Memorial steles of the commandos who lost their life in action on June 6, 1944 line the steps that lead to the Kieffer Memorial.
Directions: 23 Boulevard Aristide Briand – Lat 49.290661 – Long -0.262329
2 – WN10
Casemate 626 of the codified position WN 10 on the beach, a few meters west of the Free French Monument.
Directions: 51-33 Boulevard Aristide Briand – Lat 49.291080 – Long -0.265181
3- Royal Navy and Royal Marines Monument was erected by the harbour to honour the memory of all the soldiers of these two regiments who landed on Sword Beach on D-Day and fought until the end of WWII on May 8, 1945.
4- Commando No4 and Kieffer Commando commemorative Plaques mark the spot where Free French Commandos were killed near the current Casino (which was rebuilt on the site of the original).
Directions: 53 Rue Pasteur – Lat 49.288232 – Long -0.259114
5- Kieffer Commando Stele pays tribute to four other French Commandos killed in action.
Directions: 40 Boulevard Winston Churchill – Lat 49.288616 – Long -0.264489
6- Musée Commando no4
This museum relates the story of the 177 Free French Commandos, placed under the command of Commander Kieffer, who landed on D-Day at dawn on the beach of Colleville, since renamed Colleville-Montgomery.
Directions: Place Alfred Thomas – Tel 02 31 96 63 10 – Lat 49.288773 – Long -0.259616
7- Liberation Monument – Signal Monument commemorates the Liberation of France and Europe by the Allies. It bears a dedication to the French and British men of the Commando No4 who died on D-Day.
8- Daimler WN 12 Battery
Nicknamed “Battery Daimler” by the allies, this battery was located inland. It consisted of four 155mm guns, two 20mm anti-air guns and machine guns supports.
Directions: 10 Place Louis Aragon – Lat 49.272556 – Long -0.268283
9- As in Bernières, a veteran created two stained glass windows for the local church. He dedicated them to the 1st Commando Brigade and the 51st Highland division were installed in church.
10- Atlantic Wall Museum – The Big Bunker – Musée du Mur de l’Atlantique – Le Grand Bunker
Riva Bella’s control firing casemate of the Atlantic Wall, the system of defence the Germans built along Western Europe’s littoral, was restored to house the Atlantic Wall Museum.
Directions: 6 Avenue du 6 Juin – Tel 02 31 97 28 69 – Lat 49.287747 – Long -0.252290
Sword Beach War Memorials in Colleville-Montgomery
N.B. This is Colleville-sur-Orne, renamed Colleville-Montgomery on June 13, 1946, not to be confused with Colleville-sur-mer (Omaha Beach)
1- Piper Bill Millin Statue
This Memorial statue pays tribute to the Franco-British liberators who landed on this spot on D-Day. The dedication reads as follows:
“S’ils se souviennent du sonneur de cornemuse, alors ils n’oublieront pas ceux qui ont servi et ceux qui sont tombés sur les plages” – “If they remember the bagpiper, then they will not forget those who served and those who fell on the beaches” Piper William “BILL” MILLIN”
Directions: Place du Débarquement – Lat 49.293285 – Long -0.282848
2- Kieffer Commando Memorial slab
The slab is located a few meters east of Piper Bill Millin Memorial and is inscribed with the following:
“A l’aube du 6 juin 1944, les 177 commandos français du Commandant Philippe Kieffer débarquèrent sur cette plage en avant-garde du n°4 commando franco-britannique suivi des n°3 et n°6 commandos ainsi que du 45e Royal Marines Commandos’ – At the dawn of June 6, 1944, the 177 commandos French commanders Philippe Kieffer landed on this beach ahead of the No. 4 Franco-British commando followed by No. 3 and No. 6 commandos and the 45th Royal Marines Commandos.”
Directions: 15 Boulevard Maritime – Lat 49.293029 – Long -0.281069
3- WN18 Bunker 677
This casemate coded Bunker 677 on the support point WN18 is now part of a private property and opposite the previous Memorial slab.
Directions: 15 Boulevard Maritime – Lat 49.292894 – Long -0.280875
4- General Montgomery Statue
This statue honours the memory of General Montgomery, the commander-in-chief of the Allied Land Forces in Normandy.
Directions: Along D514-Rue de Riva Bella – Lat 49.290704 – Long -0.282362
5- Morris Battery 669 / WN16
These three casemates are on private land, in the heart of a new development. Their position was codified WN16 and they were equipped with 3 guns of 10 cm.
The 1st Battalion Suffolk Regiment took the battery on D-Day.
Directions: 9 rue du Sapin Bleu – Lat 49.272230 – Long -0.306645
Sword Beach War Memorials in Hermanville-sur-mer
1- Cromwell tank
The Cromwell (A-27) is a British battle tank that appeared at the end of WWII and often replaced the Sherman M4 tank. Considered one of the most successful Cruiser tanks, it is also the first British armoured vehicle to have both a dual-function gun, high speed and good armour.
Directions: 202 rue du Dr Turgis-D514 – Lat 49.296496 – Lat -0.300149
2- Monument of the Allied Navies Crews
This Memorial commemorates the crews of the Allied Navies who died in Normandy during Operation Overlord.
Directions: 45 avenue Felix Faure – Lat 49.297539 – Long -0.299524
3- Hermanville sur-mer British War Cemetery
The remains of 1,005 soldiers, among whom 986 British, 13 Canadians, 3 Australians and 3 French were laid to rest in this cemetery.
Directions: Chemin des Hautes Sentes – Lat 49.286308 – Long -0.308820
Sword Beach War Memorials in Lion-sur-mer
1- Churchill AVRE (Armored Vehicle Royal Engineers) tank
This tank from the 79th Armoured Division, equipped with a 290 mm mortar, is a gift from General Sir Ian Harris, of the 2nd Battalion Commander Royal Ulster Rifles.
It stands by the Liberation Monument that commemorates the liberation of the city on June 7, 1944 and the Stele that pays tribute to the Soldiers of the 41st Royal Marine Commando.
War Memorials in:
Gold Beach: Arromanches – Ver-sur-mer
Department of Calvados