D-Day barge found at French beach …and destroyed

A wreck of a British barge used for D-Day landings in Normandy in 1944 was discovered at a beach near Merville-Franceville, Calvados, France. It was destroyed by a bulldozer by the local authorities which believed the wreck is a threat to the people visiting the beach.

Remains of the barge (by France 3 Normandie)

The barge emerged on a beach that did not participate in the D-Day landings on June 6th, 1944. The only operation in this sector on D-Day was the neutralization of the German battery located 2 km from the sea by British paratroopers. It was discovered by a passer-by who saw a metal fragment protruding to 10 centimetres hight on a metre length upwards from underneath the sand. The individual alarmed the local authorities, who brought in heavy equipment to uncover and remove the wreckage as it was not initially identified as the vessel used in historic events and possessing heritage value. The digger eventually uncovered the vessel that actually turned out to be 11 meters long by 3 meters wide and resting under the sand for over 70 years.

Heavy equipment at the site of the barge (by France 3 Normandie)

Experts of the French Département des recherches archéologiques subaquatiques et sous-marines visited the site and identified the damaged wreckage of the vessel made of wood and metal a D-Day landing barge. They expressed outrage at the local administration’s lack of imagination and the undertaken actions which allowed for the unique vessel to be destroyed. The Normandy landings (codenamed “Operation Neptune”) were the landing operations on Tuesday, 6 June 1944 (also known as “D-Day”) of the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II.

(after France 3 Normandie)

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