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By Mick Edmondson

Myself Mick Edmondson, Colin Dixon and his son Craig travelled to Normandy with 3 Matchless WDG3L Motorbikes in a large van and our camping equipment.

We were staying with a group of motorcyclists who we had stayed with the previous year who call themselves the NOBS (Normandy Old Bikers Society) who in turn camped with a French Juno Military Vehicle Club, the camp site was at Luc-sur-mer. On the first day Thursday 4th June we rode down the coast showing Craig the places we had been to the previous year and ending up at the Longues battery.

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On Friday 5th June we formed up and escorted the French Vehicles to the ceremony at Montgomery-Coleville where we lined up about 40 motorcycles and watched the ceremony and the fly past of the Lancaster and two Spitfires and a lone Spitfire with the D-Day markings. We were then invited to line up in front of the beach when a Veteran who had landed on D-Day with his motorcycle came along and told of his experiences and had a sit on one of the Matchless bikes.

We then went to the Hillman fortification and met up with other WD bikes about 85 of us in total. We then went en-mass to Pegasus Bridge and the museum and then on to Merville Battery. The traffic around Pegasus was chaotic. On the evening we walked to the beach and watched the 50 miles of fireworks display all along the coast.

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On Saturday 6th we escorted the French to Douvres where they formed up in the square. We went on to Ver-sur-mer to meet up with all the motorcycles going to Arromanches. We filled in forms and formed up in two’s on the road side to travel two recorded miles with photographic evidence for the Guinness book of records. There was 142 of us. We then continued to Arromanches and lined up on the promenade. At 3 o’clock we then went down onto the beach and lined up with about 100 MVT vehicles, there was also a large landing craft on the beach and various amphibious vehicles in and out of the water. A sight never to be forgotten.

On Sun 7th we again escorted the French to Sannerville near Caen where operation Goodwood took place. We took part in the ceremonies and were then invited into a large marquee and were given a full meal with wine and cider.

On Monday 8th we set off at 7am to Ver-sur-mer to a British camp to escort two 25 pounders around Bayeux to a village a few miles from Tilly. This is where the 25 pounders were first in action after D-Day and the site where they actually fired from. 

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They fired 10 rounds each the last two being supercharged rounds which really made the ground shake, the Mayor and his deputy fired the first rounds. We then went into the village hall and were given Cider with Blackcurrant and also nibbles. Then on to Tilly where we toured the museum in a church and heard an account from a French lady who was a girl there during the bombardment. On our way back we called in to the Jerusalem Cemetery where the youngest soldier to be killed at 16 years was buried.

It was a fantastic experience.