This was my first visit to Pegasus Bridge. Why because it's all about the Airborne Right?
Well, I received an education whilst visiting the Pegasus museum. The first thing that I spied even from the car park was our Corps Colours stencilled on the back of a tank, but more on that later... looking around the museum it was interesting to see the role of the 1st Special Service Brigade including 45 Cdo RM who had not only crossing Sward Beach but had the secondary task of fighting trough and reaching the Caen Canal to join up with the 6th Airborne Division, no mean feet.
External link 45 Royal Marine Commando - Sword Beach, Normandy
1st Special Service Brigade
No. 3 Commando No. 4 Commando No. 6 Commando No.45 (RM) Commando No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando
Map Showing the route of the Commandos
Within the grounds of the museum is a Centaur tank from the 5th Royal Marine Independent "Armoured Support Battery" primarily equipped with Centaur IV tanks fitted with a 95 mm howitzer; the unit was a short-lived, created for the Normandy Landings of 1944 and disbanded two weeks after D-Day. Now resurrected in today's Corps as the Armoured Support Group RM (ASGRM) Viking Squadron.
ASGRM was established formerly in 2007 although the unit had already deployed to Afghanistan in September 2006 under command of Major Jez Hermer MBE RM, who was the original Viking Armoured Vehicle Project Officer at HQRM when I was WO1(D) and an obvious choice to be the first OC. Jez was also instrumental in creating the Armoured Support Specialisation yes that's a thing...
External RN Link Armoured Support Group
On the 6 June, 1944 the RM Armoured Support Battery crossed Sword Beach comprising R, S, T and V Troops who were assigned to the 1st Special Service Brigade and at 13:30, they crossed Pegasus Bridge over the Caen Canal to join up with the 6th Airborne Division in defending the eastern perimeter of the DDay Landing. The arrival of the Commandos was famously led across by Bill Millin of No. 4 Commando, playing his bagpipes and the Brigade Commander, Brigadier The Lord Lovat DSO MC.
Centaur tank of the 5th Royal Marine Independent "Armoured Support Battery"
External Link CWG Ranville War Cemetery. Is a short drive west from the bridges and worth a visit to reflect on the sacrifice our forefathers of 45 Cdo RM made that day.