Normandy 2018 Day 1 – Deja-vu all over again

 Day 1 – our customary start

Beer and brewpubs

Yes, our annual trip to Normandy started in it’s usual fashion directed by the good words of CamRA’s Good Beer Guide . However, this time, it was easier to plan as we’d previously arranged to try to meet up with one of the chaps from CamRA in Aylesbury, at the Hop Pole Brewpub . Regular readers of this blog will know that pub quite well!




Unfortunately, Alexander was double booked, so we were forced to drink alone. That is apart from a South African chap who started talking to us. He explained that his country was worse than the Wild West… and parts even worse than that!

Then it was off to our “Purple Palace” (no sign of Lenny Henry, ‘though) for our accommodation.

More research

Next to our Premier Inn, there’s the “onsite” pub, so we called in for a swift beer. Then Glyn went for the coffee & Colin for the homemade lemonade. Whilst there we spent a couple of hours reviewing the information that we have on some of the men. This ranges from quite full stories (Blunt & Caldwell) to others with still very little (Bird, Brunt & Chapman). Bird is intriguing in that the National Archives have digitised some of their POW records, but his is still secure until 2025… no idea why…

Rain, rain, go away

Over the past few days, in the UK, we’ve had some terrible thunderstorms. A month’s worth of rainfall in just over an hour. So we were wary as we set out to walk into town to meet up with Stuart Hadaway. Again, regular readers will be aware of the support that he’s been to this site. So when the clouds grew dark & a gentle rain began to fall there was a detour to a bus stop. With the realisation that we were protected by a number of large bushes & that a bus was due in a few minutes it seemed like a good idea. This was reinforced when, two minutes after boarding the bus, the heavens opened!

Even more beer & research

Then it was to the King’s Head in the centre of town – Brewery Tap of the Chiltern Brewery – to meet up with Stuart & a discussion of the latest book that he’s working on as well as a general historical chat… which, on more than one occasion dissolved into laughter.

Stuart then offered us a lift back to the hotel. On the way to his car he pointed out the statue that the people of Aylesbury erected to commemorate the coronation of King George V. This is of John Hampden who has two key points of fame. First, he was one of the 5 Parliamentarians that helped  kick off the English Civil War against Charles I – so great idea for a statue for a new king’s coronation! And secondly the Handley Page Hampden bomber was named after him – as are a number of American towns, apparently.



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