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The museum is now closed for the winter and is due to reopen on the 16th March 2021
13th December 2020
A few weeks ago, the museum acquired from a second-hand dealer in Arromanches an "old wooden sign" with a text recalling the presence of Royal Navy officers in the former hotel AMERICA, a hotel which was then just in front of the town hall of Ver-sur-Mer, in the Place Amiral Byrd. This sign hung in the hotel for a long time, maybe at the entrance on the side of the alley but we do not know when it was removed, perhaps after the hotel closed .
Today on the gable end of the old hotel overlooking the Place Amiral Byrd, there is a "contemporary" sign recalling the presence in June and July 1944 of British officers in this building. The hotel baptized "AMERICA" in the 1930s (in memory of Byrd and his crew who on the night of July 1, 1927 were forced to ditch off the coast at Ver-sur-Mer) was renamed "GOLD INN" in June 1944 by officers of the Royal Navy. I realized that the "contemporary" panel does not tell exactly the same story as the "old panel" ... And this is where I realized that some times and with good intentions, history or facts are not correct and in this specific case, social networks have nothing to do with it ... But the facts are often stubborn and when the day comes, there is always a chance to exhume them and bring them back to light!
The "old panel" can be dated between the end of 1944 and the end of the 1940s. It was painted with an off-white paint that could be found everywhere until the 2000s on lots of shutters, windows and doors throughout our area, including in Crépon where my old shutters and doors were painted with the same paint when I arrived in Crépon 25 years ago. A village "elder" told me that this paint came from a large stock left in 1944 by the Royal Navy, stock quickly recovered by the locals after the departure of the British.
The letters painted artistically enough in red present a text translated into French from an original text in English, several clues shown in it; text written to leave a precise memory with indications and purely military terms such as the acronym "DSO" (Distinguished Service Order), which designates a decoration absolutely unknown to the French. There is also the rank of "Captain" DOLPHIN which is a bad translation of the rank of "Captain" used in the Royal Navy and which by correspondence should be translated as "Ships Captain" (for the reader not used to military ranks, it is the equivalent of a Colonel). So on the panel it is not a question of a "Captain" in the sense of the Army or the RAF , but of a naval officer who has greater responsibilities. The term "104 Beach sub region" is an attempt at a difficult translation designating a large British landing logistics unit whose original English name is "104th Beach Sub Area". This organization brings together (a few days after the initial disembarkation on June 6) the two beach logistics units controlling the two beach sectors of the GOLD BEACH sector; the 10th Beach Group on "JIG" (Asnelles) and the 9th Beach Group on KING (Ver-sur-Mer). This organization conatins approximately 5000 men and it works in the unloading of the ships, in the storage of the supplies to feed all the divisions dependent on the 30th British Army until the end of July 1944, as mentioned on the "old panel". (From August 1944, the units of the classic army supply chain will take over, the 104th Beach Sub Area and the Beach Groups attached to it will be dissolved or partially dissolved and the troops dispersed to provide reinforcements towards other units). The various transport ships (troops and vehicles) running aground on our beaches or docking at the unloading platforms of the "Mulbery B" facing Arromanches needed a command located on land to effectively direct the traffic of hundreds of ships and ensure unloading in good order before sending them back to English ports. Only the Royal Navy could professionally ensure such movements.
What does the "contemporary" panel tell us, another story with great confusion, Captain DOLPHIN and the "104 Beach Sub Region" are removed, they are replaced by "Colonel Harper" and the "9th Beach Group", who in addition in a totally erroneous way are associated with the Royal Navy ... We do not know who wrote the text of this "contemporary" panel, it is not a question of reproaching anyone but of re-establishing the facts precisely. Lieutenant-Colonel Harper commanded on June 6, 1944 the 2nd Battalion The Hertforshire Regiment, this unit is well known to inhabitants of Ver because it is commemorated by a memorial located near the bar-restaurant "the Sexton" at the traffic lights along the D514. This standard infantry battalion was the nucleus of an army formation integrating logistics units, all forming the 9th Beach Group and Harper was in command of this composite unit. The 9th Beach Group was therefore a unit of the Army and not of the Royal Navy, it was in charge of unloading ships and logistics depots in the KING sector. In no case was this unit in charge of regulating maritime traffic. Lieutenant-Colonel Harper and the staff of the 9th Beach Group were certainly never lodged at the "GOLD INN", which was occupied, as the "old sign" reminds us, by the Royal Navy officers active in the GOLD sector under the command of Captain DOLPHIN. Any clarification, information, photos on the history of this hotel are welcome.
In illustrations, in addition to the photos of the panels, the hotel and the postcards, I added a photo which although it was not taken on the GOLD sector (It is of the JUNO sector) illustrates wellthe work of the Royal Naval Commandos, to note the presence of the White Ensign (or flag of St-Georges, name given to the flag of the Royal Navy), floating proudly on the small command post! Thanks to Eric Viel, secretary of our association, for the postcards from his collection that illustrate this little article!
7th June 2020
A short ceremony was
organized on Sunday, June 7 at noon in front of the war memorial of the 6th
and 7th battalion of the Green Howards in Crépon.
The ceremony began with the mayor's welcoming address and the reading of an extract from the poem "The Fallen" by Laurence Binyon by Jean-François Le Cuziat, followed by the laying of wreaths and the wreath sent by Colonel Clive Mantell President of the Green Howards Veterans Association. The Last Post followed, a minute of silence and the Marseillaise à cappella by the audience. The town of Crépon then invited the audience for a drink of friendship at the bar in the church square
6th June 2020
The America & Gold Beach museum association represented by its president Jean-François Le Cuziat and its secretary Eric Viel, along with Corine Vervaeke guide-lecturer and her husband, General Philippe Vervaeke deposited at 9:30 am on June 6, 2020 a bouquet of flowers and two white roses at the monument of the 6th and 7th battalion of the Green Howards of the Paisty Vert in Ver-sur-Mer.
The small group then joined Place Winston Churchill at 10 am where a remembrance ceremony was organized by the town of Ver-sur-Mer in the presence of the mayor Jean-Luc Veret and several members of the town council. Mr. Witchell represented the Normandy Memorial Trust, J-F Le Cuziat represented the museum association as well as a representative of the Gendarmerie. Several residents of the town who attend this ceremony of remembrance were also present. The short ceremony took place in the rain and wind, Jean-François Le Cuziat first read an extract from the poem "The Fallen" by Laurence Binyon before the wreath, white roses and poppies was laid. After a minute of silence, the mayor addressed the participants.
After the ceremony at Place Churchill, Jean-François Le Cuziat, Eric Viel and members of the museum association went to lay a red rose at the monuments of the 2nd Battalion of the Hertfordshire Regiment and the Royal Artillery
At the end of November 2019 Mr. Patrice de la Rochefoucault donated to the museum several objects and souvenirs from the America plane: a piece of the rope which was used to tow the plane on Ver beach, three pieces of canvas from the fuselage of the airplane with original aluminum paint (paint still very fresh after more than 90 years), three photos with the original signatures of two of the four crew members of the America, George Noville and Bert Acosta. These objects and souvenirs were donated many years ago by the Villefranche family. Count Guy de Villefranche was mayor of Cabourg in 1927 and after the landing of the America on July 1, 1927 in Ver, he then accommodated the crew at the Grand Hôtel de Cabourg. These objects and souvenirs will soon be exhibited in the museum. We thank very much the donor who received us at his home to give us these objects
We had 40 participants in the guided tour which was on the subject of the German defences at Ver Sur Mer in June 1944
On the 8km walk we gave talks about the six defencive sectors on Gold Beach King
On Wednesday 31st July, more than 70 people attended Claude Quétel's lecture on the life of the civilian population after liberation.
Mr. Quétel who lived through this time, told the audience for more than an hour a series of moving stories and anecdotes full of humor.
The public was then able to participate by asking questions and telling stories that they lived through or were reported to them.
The conference ended with a book signing session
The conference ended with a book signing session
Latest news from the museum
On 6th June 2019 the Association Amercia Gold Beach Museum and the council of Ver Sur Mer revealed two new memorials in the newly refurbished Place Winston Churchill. These are dedicated to those who died on the 6th June liberating the village of the 4/7th Royal Dragoon Guards and the 5th Battalion of the East Yorkshire Regiment. Two hundred plus people attended this very moving ceremony
24th March 2019
On the occasion of the opening of the season 2019 we present in our collections an exceptional gift received by the museum last November, a blade of the central propeller of the plane AMERICA found by chance in a garage of Poissy in the Department of Yvelines. This blade of propeller was broken during the ditching, it was given to the museum by Mr. Alain Jouan and by Mrs. Pascale Grégy
Please note that group guided visits are only possible on Saturday and Sunday
31st May Thanks to Ron and his team, Jean Francois and Eric the Sexton has been painted. Thanks also to Mr and Mrs Bracken from the USA who gave a very generous donation.
Commemorative book written to celebrate the 90th anniversary of
the historic flight by Capitaine de Corvette Richard E Byrd and his team
towards France aboard the Fokker Trimoetur Monoplane ‘America’
Payment by cheque in Euros made payable to ‘Association America-Gold Beach’ posted to the Centre Saint- Exupéry, 2 Place de l’Amiral Byrd, 14114, Ver Sur Mer, Normandie, FRANCE
We also accept payments by PayPal at the email@example.com
Delivery in France is 5 euros, in the EEC is 8 Euros and elsewhere is 12 Euros.
12th May 2017 - June 2017 ceremonies added.
11th May 2017 - Click here to see short video of museum
(French and Spanish, English subtitles.)
27th March 2017 - Passionnés depuis trente ans par l'histoire de l'« America », le conservateur du musée Jean-Pierre Dupont et son épouse Nany préparent un week-end de festivités pour célébrer le 90e anniversaire de l'amerrissage forcé du Fokker. |
Text and image Ouest-France March 2017
20th February 2017 - visit the museum to see a 1927 film of the ditching of the AMERICA, with commentaries in English, French or German.
17th February 2017 - opening hours clarified.
25th February 2016 - slight change to opening hours for 2016.
27th March 2016 - times of June 2016 ceremonies published.
Follow the links at left.
5th April 2016 - new exhibition about RHINO FERRIES by Major Edwin Hunt MVO. Visit the museum to see it!
5th April 2016 - new film about the ditching of the AMERICA. Visit the museum to see it!
5th May 2016 - times of June 2016 ceremonies changed, slightly.
19th May 2016 - poster for June ceremonies below (only in French, sorry!)
The AMERICA-GOLD BEACH museum is situated in the centre of Ver sur Mer, next door to the town hall. It commemorates two momentous 20th century events that took place her in Ver sur Mer.
In 1927, the first mail-carrying flight from the USA to Europe crash-landed in the sea off Ver sur Mer. The aircraft, piloted by Commander Robert BYRD, was called the AMERICA.
On 6th June 1944, elements of the British 50th Infantry division and supporting armour landed here, as part of operation OVERLORD, on the beach known since that day as GOLD BEACH.
All material copyright 2018 © the America/Goldbeach Museum 2006-2015 Numéro de SIRET 40766729400018
2, place Amiral Byrd, F14114 - Ver sur Mer - Tel 00 33 231 22 58 58