Gold Beach

The most westerly of the British invasion beaches, ‘Gold Beach’ is the home to the British Mulberry Harbour at Arromanches and the Pipe Line Under the Sea (PLUTO) at Port en Bessin.

The sector was assaulted by troops of the 50th Division of XXX Corps which had the objective of liberating Bayeux and Arromanche, and then to link up with the US forces landing to their west. H-Hour was planned for 07:25, with almost 25,000 troops being landed on D-Day, supported by Sherman DD amphibious tanks.

Bayeux was liberated the same day, D+1.

Royal Marines of 47 RM Commando were scheduled to land at Asnelles after the beachhead had been secured, with the objective of capturing the small fishing port of Port en Bessin on D-Day. Due to the ferocity of the defensive fire on the landing beach the initial assault was delayed, and the Commandos ended up as part of the beach assault force.

Although delayed, loosing much of their heavy equipment and having taken many casulties, the Commandos pressed on, to arrive at the hills overlooking their objective by nightfall. Here they camped, ready to assault the town the next day.

What to see

It could be said that today Arromanches, centrally located in Gold Sector, is the hub of activities within the British Sector.

Arromanches traditionally hold the commemorative parades on the beach by Normandy Veterans. This small resort town is host to many souvenir shops and cafes, and combined with the many museums and the Mulberry Harbour it is one of my favourite towns in Normandy.

The town hosts the Musée du Débarquement, with it`s centrepiece being the large scale floating model of the Mulberry Harbour, situated just outside the museum.

Also see the Arromanche 360 cinema, which used to be one of the best tourist experiences in Normandy until they changed their very eductional film in 2009. It is still worth a visit as the car park is located on the site of a German radar station.

A few miles west of Arromanche is Longres Battery, where the guns and observation post can be seen. The observation bunker in this battery featured in the movie, The Longest Day. During my last visit a few years ago, a disabled ramp had been built giving better access to the upper floor.

Continuing west lies the pretty fishing town of Port en Bessin. If you get the chance, try the local sea-food.

This town is home to the Under-water Wrecks Museum. I found that the best stuff here was outside the museum, with the smaller items inside not being worth the entrance fee. I also found the staff abrasive. This however is my opinion based on my last visit in 2007.