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D-Day Heroes and smoking ... but don't mention the French!
This Graye Churchill tank in the car park at Courseulles-sur-Mer is situated about 100 metres from the beach where it came ashore at the junction of the Green (left) and Red (right) sectors of Mike/JUNO Beach. Thus is where the Royal Winnipeg Rifles came on D-Day 6th June 1944. They suffered 128 casualties, the second heaviest Canadian regimental casualties of the day.
This tank came ashore and slid down into the flooded culvert, it sunk and was then hit by mortars. The sunken tank was incorporated into the exit road and there it stayed until 1976 when it was recovered, restored and moved to the car park. Also in the car park is a granite monument about 0.75 metres wide by 1.25 metres high. This monument is dedicated to the Canadian Scottish and Royal Winnipeg Rifles. h/t vicherley
Take a closer look at the photo and you'll see in the top right hand corner a cross. This cross is about 50-60 ft high and in chrome and is actually on the beach. There is a large area decked out to accommodate it. lt is the Charles De Gaulle Cross commemorating his landing there as the Liberator of France. No he didn't come on the 6th or 7th ... not even the 12th when Churchill came. He came on the 14th! The only thing missing in the tank photo is there is also a flag flying there ... yes, the French one.
The 3 D-Day vets that l'd taken were not very complimentary about it to say the least. Comments like 'Fucking typical, our lads are shoved in the car park and that big nosed cunt gets a fucking giant memorial to proclaim himself Liberator of France" ... "Cunt" ... " Do you know that there's no figures for French casualties on D-Day?" ... " Yeah, did you see the leaflet on the war cemetries? 1000's of Allied graves and even the Poles have 690 odd. The French one? ... 90 ... fucking 90!" ... " Liberator of France? ... Cunt!"
l looked later at the leaflet and it did indeed say that. Later on when l'd taken them to bar and we were sat out in the sun having a beer ... and a smoke, one of the vets said " Y'know, l used to enjoy a pint and a smoke at the pub but it's not worth going anymore. Hardly anyone goes. When l have been and l want a smoke l've got to shuffle out on these fucking sticks. Doesn't matter if it's pouring with rain, blowing a gale, fucking snowing ... out l fucking go"
He went on "What really pisses me off is all them fucking anti-smoking cunts. They say it's better for me, it's healthier, it's for my own good ... l'm 85 for fucks sake!"
His mate replied " Makes you wonder why we bothered, fucking fascists won in the end"