After Colleville-sur-Mer it is just around the corner to
the Normandy American Cemetery & Memorial. This impressive
cemetery contains 9.387 American graves, among them 307
unknown. The motion picture
'Saving Private Ryan' starts and ends on this cemetery. You don’t have
to look for the resting place of Captain John Miller (Tom
Hanks), his character was fictional and there is no grave (their is by the way a John Miller,
a Private First Class, who was killed on July 19, 1944. He can be found on Plot C, Row 19, Grave 26).
First stop, coming from the carpark, for the visitor is the impressive visitorcenter. Many museums in Normandy
will be envy of the display in this truly wonderfull building. But it is not just a museum, it's a place of reflection,...
Not the John Miller from 'Saving Private Ryan'
(Picture; Johan Vervoort)
famous grave here must be Brigadier General Theodore
Roosevelt (son of President "Teddy") on Plot D, Row 28, Grave
45 (12 July, 1944, he suffered a heart attack in an orchard near
Carentan at the age of 57). Next to him lies his brother
Quentin, a pilot from the 1st World War who died on July 14th,
1918. There are 33 ‘couples’ of brothers and a father and a son
(Col. Ollie Reed en Ollie Jr.) on Plot E, Row 20, Grave 19.
14.000 killed American soldiers were shipped back to the
Theodore Roosevelt Jr., and his tombstone
The Memorial looks out over a rectangle pont. From this point you have a great view over the burial grounds.
On both sides in the Memorial are large war maps in
coloured enamel. Flanked by two bronze urns stands the statue
'The Spirit of American Youth Rising From the Waves', by
Donald de Lue from New York (see picture on the bottom of this page). Behind the Memorial you will
find the 'Garden of the Missing' with the names of 1557
From the burial grounds a path runs down to the beach with an explanation
on boards about the landing beaches. The path ends on the
sector ‘Easy Red’. If you follow the path, beware that it is
quit a climb back to the top.
The cemetery is open
from half April till half September from 09.00 - 18.00 hours
the rest of the year from 10.00 - 17.00 hours
There are three graves containing soldiers with the
Congressional Medal of Honor. Fallen soldiers with the Medal of Honor
bear their names in gold on the crosses. As mentioned before, Roosevelt
is one of them, just as Frank D. Peregory and First
Lieutenant Jimmie W. Monteith. The last one came ashore during
D-Day near Colleville-sur-Mer under heavy German fire. Without
any regards for his own safety he guided his men to the top of
Jimmie Walter Monteith, Jr. and his grave
Monteith spotted two tanks, which were on the wrong place
to give effective fire. He went through a minefield en led
them to a better spot. After a short while, a couple of
strongholds were put out of action by these tanks. Monteith
went back to his troops and began organizing the defense.
Under enemy fire, he repeatedly ran across open fields of 2 to
300 meters. When he and his men were surrounded, he tried to
lead his men from this situation. Unfortunately, Lt Monteith
was killed. His leadership earned him his Medal of Honor. His
grave is in sector I, Row 20, grave 12.
For a printable text about the background of the cemetery, click on the:
Official booklet American Battle Monuments Commission
OMAHA BEACH, TO VIERVILLE-SUR-MER
When you come down through St-Laurent-sur-Mer, by the Musée Omaha 6 Juin 1944 you may visit
(see next page), towards Omaha Beach, you see direct in front of you the large stone monument with behind it,
stuck into the sand, the giant metal monument 'Les Braves'.
In 2004 this monument, 'Les Braves', was
erected near St-Laurent-sur-Mer.
At the monuments, keep right, and folow the boulevard to the end (halfway, the road turns
behind the houses). You are now entering the sector EASY-Green, known as
'the valley of Ruquet'. A famous picture was made her which is publisched in nearly every book,
it shows men of the 2nd Infantry Division climbing up a dune behind a casemate.
Near the border of DOG and Easy, at Les Moulins, near Wn 65, the grass was on fire.
The smoke gave some protection to the incoming troops. A little further to the east, at EASY,
near Colleville-sur Mer, was it just as bloody as at DOG. A lot of soldiers
of the 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Division became victims of the many landmines.
The decision of the American staff not to use the other than the DD tanks of the ‘Hobart’s Funnys’
was bad one (later on they would use minesweeping tanks). They could not leave the beach through the
designated exits, they had to make detours and attack the Germans from the rear.
Fresh troops coming
ashore at Les Moulins later on the day.
The fires had died down and the smoke is clearing
But, at the end of the long day of 6 June 1944, the Americans had a firmer grip in the sector
of Omaha Beach. Below shows the area of Les Moulins with Wn 65 (EASY-Green) that localy was known as
'the Valley of Ruquet'. This part of Omaha is to be found near St-Laurent-sur-Mer. Looking at the
picture, we see troops of the 2nd Infantry Division ('Indian Head') moving inland. The situation
has not much changed since the invasion. The path the GI’s are following is still there. The
H 667 casemat has still his 5cm KwK gun, which gave the landing party such a hard time.
The sector EASY-Green, at Wn 65 is known as 'the Valley of Ruquet'.
After the visit to Wn 65, return to the
at the crossroads of Les Moulins.
Pass the monuments, and follow the
and head for Vierville-sur-Mer.
A couple of yards to the left of the large monument, a small bronze plaquette
can be found against the seawall. This was placed to remember a small scale action by
Commandos under the name of Operation Aquatint
which took place on this part of the beach.
This small plaque reminds
us of Operation Aquatint
To probe the strength at the coasts that were in line for the future landing by the Allies,
it was essential to send in so called Small Scale Raiding Force (SSRF).
Omaha Beach was visited on September 13th 1942, just after midnight, when eleven Commandos
landed near Les Moulins (the future Wn 65) under supervision of Major 'Gus' March-Phillipps.
Within minutes the men were spotted and a firefight broke out. After an uneven battle, three
men were killed, among them Major March-Phillipps.
The three graves of the killed Commandos
can be found at the churchyard at
After the fighting, four Commandos were captured right away,
but four others managed to escape, but were captured some time later, among these was the
Dutch Commando Jan Helling (Jan Hollings). The bronze plaque is placed at the spot where
Major March-Phillipps was found.
Fort the next chapter on Omaha Beach