Normandy 75: Oxfordshire to the Orne
By Air and By Sea: D Day and the Battle of Normandy
7 August - 3 November 2019
This new exhibition combines a travelling exhibition from the National Army Museum with stories that SOFO Museum has collected from around both Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire. These stories will be told through objects, a map of key locations, and quotes from soldiers of the two counties who served on D Day and beyond.
The National Army Museum’s touring exhibition marks the 75th anniversary of the Normandy Campaign. The exhibition will tell the courageous stories of soldiers who fought in Normandy and during D Day, and will detail the events that helped secure an allied victory.
Peggy Ainsworth, Collections Manager, explains, ‘In addition to our own regimental stories, we wanted to use this exhibition as a way to represent the local soldiers who contributed to the Normandy campaign. There have been many fascinating stories coming in from the public, which we will be telling through artefacts from our collection and information gained through our Stories of Conflict and County campaign launched last year.’
Soldiers from the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry were among the first to set foot in Normandy on the 6th of June 1944, and were perhaps most famous for the capture of Pegasus Bridge in the early hours of the morning, prior to the beach landings. The new exhibition complements some of the museum's permanent displays, where visitors can imagine themselves in the boots of these soldiers as they sit inside a life-size reproduction of a Horsa Glider compartment and listen to recorded interviews of D Day veterans.
A special War Games Day will be held on Saturday 24th August, where South Oxfordshire Generals war games club will run demonstrations for visitors to see and join in with, all focused on recreating the battles which took place around Pegasus Bridge following its capture in miniature form.
For admission details, including opening times and prices, see our Visit-Us page.
A clip from "Airborne Assault" a short film released in 1945 by the Ministry of Supply and British Paramount News, initially intended to motivate factory workers by showing them how their work helped the war effort. Much of the footage was filmed in 1943 while the 2nd Battalion Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry were training for airborne operations, and members of the Battalion can be spotted in the film, including Major John Howard. Film © IWM
Interview with John Howard DSO
Major John Howard talks about his experience at Pegasus Bridge
- Major John Howard DSO - Pegasus Bridge
All the following videos, from the collections of the IWM, were filmed around D-Day, some feature troops preparing for the airborne invasion, others were filmed in the vicinity of the Pegasus and Orne bridges shortly after fighting had taken place. In many of the films, members of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry can be seen amongst other soldiers.
THE 6TH AIRBORNE DIVISION PREPARES FOR D-DAY
At 03:57, soldiers of 2nd Bn Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry can be seen loading Vickers machine guns and ammunition into a Jeep trailer.
ASSAULT UNITS PREPARE FOR THE INVASION OF EUROPE
Filmed at their camp at Harwell, soldiers of 2nd Bn, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry can be seen enjoying a game of cricket. Later, men can be seen loading weapons, vehicles and equipment into Horsa gliders at Brize Norton Airfield.
THE BUILD-UP OF MATÉRIEL FOR THE INVASION OF EUROPE IN DEPOTS IN SOUTHERN ENGLAND
Footage from Central Ordnance Depot in Bicester, Oxfordshire, circa April 1944.
ACTIVITIES IN THE ORNE BRIDGEHEAD, JUNE 1944
In this collection footage from the Orne Bridegehead, filmed on the 25 June 1944, three Horsa gliders from the 'coup de main' party to Bénouville can be seen.