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Photographer's Note

This house decorated with the national flag of Canada stands on the seafront in Bernières-sur-Mer, Normandy. A plaque in front of the house explains that the house was amongst the first, or possibly, the first to be liberated by allied troops on D-Day. As you will see below Canadian forces played a significant role in the D-Day landings.

Bernières-sur-Mer is a French commune, located in the department of Calvados and Basse-Normandie region. In 2008 it had a population of 2351 inhabitants known as Bernièrais. A seaside town, it is sited on the Côte de Nacre some seventeen kilometres (ten miles) east of Caen.

During the Allied landings in Normandy in June 1944, Bernières-sur-Mer was in the Nan sector of Juno Beach, the second heaviest fortified beach after Omaha Beach. German General Wilhelm Richter commanded the 716th Division guarding the region with eleven 155mm guns and nine 75 mm. The taking of this area was assigned to the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division commanded by Major General Rodney Keller. Major Keller died in 1954 during a visit to Normandy.

On 6 June 1944, with the commando Kieffer, Le Régiment de la Chaudière was the only francophone regiment to participate in the Normandy landings. Commanded by Lieutenant Paul Mathieu of Quebec, the French-Canadian regiment landed at Bernières-sur-Mer after the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada and surprised the locals who did not expect to meet French-speaking troops. At the end of the next day, the Canadian Forces, (21500 men, excluding losses) met up with the British forces who had taken Sword Beach. Canadian casualties (dead, wounded, missing) were about a thousand.

A part of the village along the beachfront was reconstructed after the Second World War. The historic part of the village around the church, which lies slightly further inland survived largely unscathed. The commune was designated a "commune touristique" in September 2010.

The above information was extracted and freely translated from an article about the commune on the French Wikipedea site.

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Additional Photos by Stephen Nunney (snunney) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6242 W: 61 N: 18174] (81885)
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