The late Colonel Henry ‘Tod’ Sweeney MC was one of Major John Howard’s platoon commanders in the assault and capture of the Orne bridges in Normandy in the early hours of 6th June 1944.
In June 2009 Michael Bawtree, who was a platoon commander in Major Sweeney’s Letter ‘A’ Company, 1st Bn Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in Cyprus in 1957, accompanied Tod’s widow Geraldine, daughter Shelagh, sons Philip and Patrick, Patrick’s wife, and grandson Oliver to Benouville for the ceremonies to mark the 65th anniversary of D-Day.
This video is a personal record of that visit, filmed and edited by Michael and is shared here by kind permission of him and the Sweeney family. After a brief diversion to visit La Bouille on the Seine, the party arrives at Benouville on 5 June, and the rest of the programme is devoted to the various activities which took place over the next three days.
We see the landing places of the three gliders which captured the canal bridge; the original bridge in the grounds of the Memorial Pegasus museum, and the Mayor’s Reception honouring four of the veterans who were in the coup de main party. Just after midnight on the 6th was the arrival of the Project 65 runners who had run the 65 miles from Tarrant Rushton and were welcomed by General Sir Richard (now Lord) Dannatt and General Sir Robert Pascoe.
Later that day was the gathering in the grounds of the museum to honour Lieutenant Den Brotheridge, and the dedication of the six monuments to the glider crews, where the four veterans each unveiled the monument bearing his name.
In addition to these four 1944 veterans, there were a number of Oxford and Bucks old comrades and their families, whose faces may be familiar.
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