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Spirit of Remembrance - Opening the Gates of History
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The Origin of the Poppy

About Us - Who is Spirit of Remembrance

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 New! Platinum Luxury Battlefield Tours

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WW1 - Escadrille de Lafayette

WW1: 'Harlem Hellfighters'

WW1: American Expeditionary Force

New! 200th Anniversary Waterloo Tours

WW1: World War 1 Tours

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WW1: Alvin (Sergeant) York

WW1: Meuse-Argonne Cemetery

US World War 1 Centennial Commission

World War 2 - ETO - European Theatre

 World War 2- Africa & Italy

World War 2: The Ardennes (Bulge)

World War 2: Audie Murphy

World War 2: USAAF 8th Air Force

Duxford WW2 Airbase England

World War 2: D-Day Tours

World War 2 Tours

WW2 - 70th Anniversary D-Day Pictures

The Cost and the Courage

The Cold War and Beyond

Medal of Honour

US Marine Corps

WW2 - EUROPEAN THEATRE OF OPERATIONS: (incl D-Day 6th June 1944)

WORLD WAR 2: ETO
For American servicemen and women who served in the United Kingdom and fought in Europe and North Africa in World War II this was the 'European Theatre of Operations' or simple the 'ETO'. To the war weary population of the UK it was a "friendly invasion" though when dressed in their smart uniforms and with bigger wage packets the GIs began to date the local girls British men characterised the Americans as "Over paid, over sexed and over here" to which came the reply that British soldiers were "Under paid, under sexed and under Ike". (Ike – General Eisenhower the Supreme Allied Commander upon whose shoulders would be the weighty responsibility for launching the D-Day landings in Normandy.
   
There was always going to be tension between the Allies. To the British the Americans appeared to have arrived late for the war while the Americans saw themselves as saving a floundering Britain from defeat. There was truth in both these assertions but underlying both countries was a determination to see the defeat of a brutal tyranny that had enslaved Europe. (In Australia, the Australian soldiers were much less 'refined' than their English soldier counterparts and a real tension became apparent with the 'over paid/oversexed' US soldiers stationed in Australia and the Aussie soldiers culminating in the infamous 'Battle of Brisbane')
   
On the other side of the world the US Army had fought a heroic defence of the Philippines – invaded within days of the attack on Pearl Harbour.  The long fight across the south west Pacific would see the US Marine Corps on its "island hopping" campaign liberating islands  - sometimes tiny atolls – held by suicidally determined Japanese defenders.  On the Philippines the US Army would live up to General MacArthur's promise and return to liberate the islands. The war against Japan would finally end on September 2, 1945 with the formal surrender in Tokyo Bay four months after the end of the war in Europe.

D-DAY - JUNE 6, 1944
The build up of American troops, vehicles and aircraft that had begun in 1942 came to an end on the night of June-5-6, 1944.  The "friendly invasion" was now serious and British, Canadian and American soldiers were about to make the "Second Front" in Europe a reality.
 
The ideal conditions of tides and moon state would come on two days a month the planners gave those dates in June as the 5th and the 6th.  On June 5 the weather conditions were terrible – but there was going to be a window of good weather on June 6. The decision to go or hold for another thirty days rested on the shoulders of the Supreme Allied Commander, 54 year old General Dwight Eisenhower. He took the decision with the simple words "OK - let's go" and Operation Overlord – the Normandy landings by sea and air was on.        
  
About 1500 Americans were killed during the initial assault on Omaha (Bloody Omaha) and Utah beaches with another 3500 wounded, captured, or missing. About 210,000 allied soldiers became casualties during the weeks after the "breakout" from the beachheads into the killing grounds of the French countryside network of *fields (*bocage) and the dash toward Berlin began. Over 37,000 men from the allied forces were killed in action during June and July.
   
Another 16,000 allied aircrew were killed during the same period. It took almost another year before the German army was destroyed, the concentration camps liberated, and victory in Europe. For Americans who had family killed or wounded in the war, in battle or in the camps, June 6 is a very special kind of memorial day.
  
A visit to the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in France is a moving and powerful reminder of the sacrifice of young American lives paid to liberate Europe. The cemetery site, at the north end of its half mile access road, covers 172.5 acres and contains the graves of 9,387 men and women, most of whom lost their lives in the D-Day landings and ensuing operations. On the Walls of the Missing, in a semicircular garden on the east side of the memorial, are inscribed 1,557 names. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified. The cemetery is located on the site of the temporary American St. Laurent Cemetery above Omaha Beach and was established by the U.S. First Army on June 8, 1944 becoming the first American cemetery on European soil in World War II.

Landing at Omaha Beach, D-Day June 6 1944

     

 Our other Spirit of Remembrance Battlefield & Remembrance Websites:

 Platinum Battlefield  ToursBattlefield Tours UK: Battlefield Tours Canada: Battlefield Tours New Zealand: Battlefield Tours Australia: Anzac Day Australia: Spirit of Paris