Normandy 2017 Day 9 – Estry, Deep Purple, barbed wire and beer

Day 9 – Wednesday 7th June

A walk around Estry

This morning we spent time looking around the village of Estry. Taking photographs of the locations of damaged and destroyed Churchill tanks following the battle to liberate the village. Colin needed these in relation to his war gaming group, and his military history society.


We returned back to Tony and Jill’s for a quick beer with Tony. Then headed back to check out the location of the “intermediate barn”.

More searching for farms

The first two locations that we found, although they had looked quite suitable on maps and aerial  photographs, didn’t match the descriptions in Ray Elledge’s manuscript.

However driving through a little hamlet called Black Night we spotted an interesting group of buildings. Both of us being Deep Purple fans, we found this amusing & wondered if it was “a sign”!

So we decided to turn the car round, park & have a look.

German barbed wire – were we getting close?

One of the first things that we noticed was that the was some German barbed wire still in place over the windows of a barn.  We spoke to the farmer and his wife in a mix of broken French and English. They said that the garage where the barbed wire was covering the window was used to hold prisoners by the Germans! In his manuscript, Ray mentions there was a window covered with barbed wire in the barn that they were going to. The layout of the buildings also ties in quite well with the description given in the manuscript. Certainly better than some others that we had found. We will follow this up further.

Off to Tilly sur Seulles

We were quite pleased with this result . However time had slipped away. So we then headed off to meet up with Stéphane Jacquet at the ceremony at Tilly sur Seulles, arriving about halfway through.

There we had the opportunity to meet up and chat with some veterans. This included one who’d been in the 2nd Essex Battalion. He recalled there being 3 “Smith”s in the Battalion. Unfortunately, he couldn’t recall their first names.

We followed this with a beer with Stéphane, but then realised that we were now going to be late for our meal back at Tony and Jill’s! Fortunately, they now know us well enough understand that sometimes “research” takes over!

After our meal, we shared with them the aerial photographs of their local village of Estry.

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