With the experience of years of giving tours, it is noticeable that the majority of visitors to Normandy choose to focus on their own ‘National’ sectors. Inevitable, understable, time available…whatever the reasons, this does tend to lead to a failed appreciation of just how important the combined Allied effort was. Contrasts, with hindsight, have a tendancy to overlook the achievements of Inter-allied teamwork. And that in Normandy there was no ‘easy’ ride for anyone – statistics are far too often mis-managed and used like opinion polls… These lectures are in fact opportunities for any national group to enhance a visit to Normandy with a wider perspective of a region of events not compatible to a one or two day tour wish list of sites to visit.
There are several possible lecture presentations, all enhanced by a powerpoint enabled slide presentation.
1. WWII in Europe and how the Allies developed the military strategy through the war that led to Operation Overlord. Followed by emmphasis on the Battle of Normandy, this lecture is designed to be a general overview for groups on the eve of an outdoor excursion to the D-Day sites. It is not designed to take over from outdoor site interpretation during a tour. From my time giving tours, I often found that covering the general history of WWII often limited the scope needed for the site description of ‘where we are standing’.
2. Overview of D-Day across the seven ‘sectors’ – two Airborne and five beaches, with stories of individuals who were at each of those sectors.
3. The French civilian experience during D-Day and the Battle of Normandy up to the liberation of Paris.
4. Often referred to as the ‘Greatest generation’, this lecture looks at the efforts and lives, post war as much as in Normandy, of several individuals of differing nationalities.
5. A photographic journey through D-Day sites, then and now, and a look at the evolution of ‘War tourism’ in Normandy.
6. War cemeteries across Normandy. Differing histories, different approaches to burial, during the conflict and post war : American, British/Canadian/Commonwealth, German, Polish, and French memorialization.
Alll lectures are designed to last 1 to 1 hour 15 minutes, plus questions/answers.
Subject to appointment, following inquiry by email and a return quote, as well as confirmation of lecture space feasibility (hotel).