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D-Day Landing Pictures That Bring The Past And Present Together

These are incredibly powerful.

06/04/2016 09:08
Reuters
Tourists walk by where the body of a dead German soldier once lay in the main square of Place Du Marche in Trevieres after the town was taken by US troops who landed at nearby Omaha Beach in 1944.

As the world lines up in June to mark the 72 years since the launch of the D-Day mission which ultimately led to victory over Nazi Germany during World War Two, these before and after pictures show the true horror and heroism on a day that changed the world.

Some 156,000 Allied troops landed on the five invasion beaches on June 6 1944, in an operation prime minister Winston Churchill described as: "Undoubtedly the most complicated and difficult that has ever taken place."

It marked the beginning of an 80-day campaign to liberate Normandy which involved three million troops and cost the lives of 250,000 people.

Few are left to tell the story of the D-Day landings, but today, as we remember the sacrifices and heroism of troops involved in the landings, these pictures of tourists soaking up the sun on Normandy's beaches stand in stark contrast to haunting images taken around the time of the crucial invasion.

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    Beach goers walk past a captured German bunker overlooking Omaha Beach near Saint Laurent sur Mer.
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    Farmer Raymond Bertot, who was 19 when allied troops came ashore in 1944, stands where US Army troops once made battle plans on his property near the former D-Day landing zone of Utah Beach in Les Dunes de Varreville.
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    Children walk over the remains of a concrete wall on the former Utah Beach D-Day landing zone, once a vital means of defence for US Army soldiers.
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    A farm field remains where German prisoners of war, captured after the D-Day landings in Normandy were once guarded by US troops at a camp in Nonant-le-Pin, France.
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    In 2014, tourists stroll by where the 2nd Battalion US Army Rangers once marched to their landing craft in Weymouth, England June 5, 1944.
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    The former Juno Beach D-Day landing zone, where Canadian forces once came ashore, in Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer, France. Once a scene of death and destruction, now a tourist's paradise.
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    Where Canadian troops once patrolled in 1944 after German forces were dislodged from Caen, shoppers now walk along the rebuilt Rue Saint-Pierre in Caen, which was destroyed following the D-Day landings.
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    Where US Army reinforcements once marched on June 18, 1944, tourists now tread the same path to the beach near Colleville sur Mer, France.
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    Tourists top up their tans where the members of an American landing party once assisted troops whose landing craft was sunk by enemy fire off Omaha beach in 1944.
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    Holidaymakers enjoy the sunshine, while on June 6, 1944 US reinforcements landed on Omaha beach during the Normandy D-Day landings near Vierville sur Mer, France.

Services will be held in June at memorials and cemeteries, maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), including at Jerusalem Cemetery - the smallest military cemetery in Normandy.

Many veterans are now in their late 80s and 90s, and have made the annual pilgrimage to honour the 156,000 Allied troops despite the difficulties of old age.

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