Day 5 – Saturday 3rd June
Lost errand boys
Today would see us running errands for various people.
We set off from Rouen through some light rain and worked out a schedule to meet up with Albert Figg to pick up some of his books to take to the museum at Saint Martin de Besaces
Unfortunately rather than typing Colleville Sur Mer into the Satnav, I typed Colleville-Montgomery, names about 70 miles away from each other. So, having arrived at Colleville-Montgomery, we decided to go down by the beach. We then agreed where we’re going to meet Albert we set off along the motorway eventually stopping off for a quick snack before arriving at the Overlord museum (our first of three Normandy Museums of the day) to see Albert and Annette
Whilst there, we had a brief look around the outer tents and met Gilles Osmont, the president of the Hill 112 Association, who was being soundly beaten (even though he denied it) in a table top “Bolt Action” war game run by French representatives of Warlord Games
There was also a fantastic display of dioramas using Action Man 12-inch high models together with the relevant vehicles
Picking up some scrap metal
Having collected the books from Albert we left the museum to visit Dominique Bidart, who lives near Hill 112 and had a good chat with him. Colin came away with a piece of a 4.2 inch Allied mortar shell for his wargaming building. Dominique did offer Colin a Panzerfaust tube also. Unfortunately, as the propellant charge was still in the tube, Colin didn’t feel it was suitable to take through UK and French Customs especially with the current heightened security even though this would have been a fantastic addition to his wargaming and military history building
At the “Bluecoat” Normandy museum
Leaving Dominique we planned to head directly down to the museum at San Martin des Besaces (the second of the three Normandy Museums in the day) to hand over Albert’s books and also some that David Mabbutt had asked to be dropped off: “The Search for Sidney” – the search for the exact location where Sidney Bates won his VC during the Normandy campaign. Unfortunately we missed the turning off the motorway (French motorways don’t appear to be well signposted!) and ended up having to travel through a series of side streets with Colin getting more and more frustrated until we eventually got back onto the motorway to head down to St Martin where we met Mark the new President of the museum.
Although we felt a little embarrassed about arriving much later than planned, Mark was quite relaxed about this as four visitors had turned up and although the museum should have been shut had decided to pay their entrance fee and walk round as Mark was waiting for us.
Having handed over the books, we went for a beer (you would expect nothing else!) with Mark and have a chat about his plans for the Museum and how to increase visitor numbers all of which sounded good
Pizzas and Bren Carriers
We then headed to our accommodation at St Pierre, a little village across the river from the town of Tilly sur Seulles and on the way I spoke to our friend Stéphane Jacquet who told us he was in the local bar and as soon as we had dumped our bags to come down for a beer which we did as he was with some owners of restored military vehicles (they had a Bren Carrier and a Daimler Dingo Scout car). So, following the beer, Stéphane bought everyone pizzas which we ate outside of the museum in Tilly sur Seulles (the final one of the Normandy Museums that we visited today) which was already set up for the following day’s Book Fair.
We then made our way back to our accommodation and had a relatively early night