D-DAY 75TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR
London to Paris
With Historian and Best-Selling Author, Ted Barris
Join Ted Barris as we retrace the Invasion march from Britain to Normandy to attend the 75th anniversary of D-Day at Juno Beach in France. This unique tour follows the greatest amphibious invasion operation of the Second World War, which aimed to liberate northwest Europe.
Visit sites in London including the Churchill War Rooms, Bletchley Park, where Enigma was decoded and HMS Belfast, which served in the D-Day naval flotilla. Travel to Portsmouth, where Operation Overlord was launched. Cross by ferry to Normandy in France, to learn more about the invasion through guided visits to museums, war sites, cemeteries and other places of interest. Lastly, arrive at the Juno Beach Centre in time for the 75th anniversary observances at Canada’s D-Day landing site.
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London - Bletchley Park - Portsmouth - Normandy - D-Day Observances - Arromanches - Dieppe - Paris
• Round-trip airfare
• Plaza Premium airport lounge pass
• London: three nights 4-star hotel accommodation at the Holiday Inn London, Kensington High Street
• Portsmouth: one night 4-star hotel accommodation at the Village Hotel Portsmouth
• Deauville, Normandy: six nights 3-star hotel accommodation at the Kyriad Deauville
• Ten breakfasts, one lunch and six dinners
• Private motor coach transportation
• Professional local tour director
• Merit Travel tour host**
• All taxes and gratuities
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Ted Barris is an accomplished author, journalist and broadcaster. As well as hosting stints on CBC Radio and regular contributions to the Globe and Mail and National Post, Barris has authored 18 non-fiction books and is a full-time professor of journalism at Centennial College in Toronto. He has also written a weekly newspaper column - The Barris Beat - for more than 20 years. Ted and his wife Jayne MacAulay have both written extensively for print/broadcast about Canadians’ wartime experiences.
DAY 1 | May 31, 2019 | Toronto - London
Board your overnight flight to London. Air Transat flight 522 departs Toronto at 10:05 p.m. Arrives London, Gatwick the following day at 10:05 a.m.
DAY 2 | Jun. 1, 2019 | London (D)
Arrive in London and board your coach for a panoramic tour of London.
To help orient ourselves in historic London, Edward Foster, our returning guide, takes us on an around-the-town tour of London, getting a perspective of the city’s historic sites, all the while reminding us of London’s wartime experience.
Then, this first evening, we’ll enjoy a welcome dinner with the entire tour group. It’s a Ted Barris tour tradition and a first opportunity to meet and share the anticipation of the coming days of travel and exploration.
Accommodation at the Holiday Inn London,
Kensington High Street (3 nights)
DAY 3 | Jun. 2, 2019 | London - Bletchley Park (B)
Breakfast at the hotel. Today we will visit Bletchley Park, the nerve centre of Britain’s ultra-secret decoding efforts during the war. Inside these ordinary looking buildings armed forces and civilian men and women decoded Germany’s Enigma transmissions.
Just 50 miles northwest of London, the site housed a diverse group of code-breakers, including Alan Turing, who successfully read enemy codes, often within a few hours of the messages being received. This is the actual location and these are the true stories depicted in the
Academy Award-winning feature starring Benedict Cumberbatch.
DAY 4 | Jun. 3, 2019 | London (B)
Today we go underground, beneath current British government ministry offices, and step into the world known only by wartime Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, and his cabinet. Preserved for history, these secret Cabinet War Rooms look exactly the way they did when Churchill and his staff assembled to organize Britain’s defences between 1939 and 1945.
Not far from Churchill’s wartime planning rooms, we visit a famous participant in the D-Day invasion, the battleship HMS Belfast.
She remains moored today on the River Thames as a survivor of the June 6, 1944, flotilla of 7,000 ships crossing the channel to Normandy. We’ll tour the war rooms of this 75 year-old warship, a veritable floating city, with her original Second World War gun positions, nine decks, and engine rooms some 15 feet below sea level; the tour comes alive with the stories of the sailors who served aboard this iconic Royal Navy warship.
DAY 5 | Jun. 4, 2019 | London - Portsmouth (B, D)
This morning, we make our way southward to the coastline of the English Channel. En route, we pass through the expanse of territory that in the lead-up to June 5 and 6, 1944, became off-limits to all but those preparing for D-Day.
As a small sample of the state of south England, we’ll stop at Bordon Camp and the Canadian Memorial at Bramshott, which through both the Great War and the Second World War became a key training area for Canadian forces.
Our dinner destination this day, in Southwick (on the outskirts of Portsmouth) is the historic Golden Lion pub, where SHAEF leaders Eisenhower and Montgomery often retired for refreshments. We’ll enjoy stories from the public house owner and our evening meal before checking into our Southampton lodgings.
Accommodation at the Village Hotel Portsmouth (1 night)
DAY 6 | Jun. 5, 2019 | Portsmouth - Deauville (B, D)
During our final half day in Britain, we spend the morning and midday visiting the southcoast city of Portsmouth. Among our featured stops is Southwick House, the southcoast manor house where Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower and other Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) commanders made the risky and historic decision to launch the Allied invasion against Hitler’s Atlantic Wall in Normandy.
We’ll also visit the newly refurbished D-Day Museum located on the very seaside from which the Allies launched Overlord.
From there, we board the ferry for our cross-channel trip, replicating the route Canadians followed overnight on June 5 and 6, 1944 en route to Normandy. At the French port our coach meets us for the trip to Deauville and our lodgings for the next six nights.
Accommodation at the Kyriad Deauville (6 nights)
DAY 7 | Jun. 6, 2019 | Deauville (B, L, D)
Among the highlights for Canadians, at this point in the tour, will be our visit to the most recent addition to museum-row along the Normandy beaches – the Juno Beach Centre. Opened in 2003, this veterans-funded facility gives the visitor the strongest impression yet of the impact 15,000 Canadians in the D-Day operation made on that longest day. We will join observances at the Centre and we’ll make time to visit Bény-sur-Mer cemetery where more than 2,000 Canadians who participated in the first days of the invasion are buried.
On our way home, we’ll stop in the British sector, code-named Sword Beach, where we’ll take in the Pegasus Bridge museum, which houses the actual bridge which British infantry (landed there by scores of gliders) captured just minutes after midnight on D-Day morning.
Our stop will also offer stories and background on the unique way in which members of the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion contributed to the success of the paratroopers’ landings early on D-Day.
DAY 8 | Jun. 7, 2019 | Deauville - Arromanches (B)
At Arromanches – in the British sector code-named Gold Beach – we will visit the Invasion Museum, which showcases one of the wonders of Operation Neptune – the creation of the artificial Mulberry Harbour.
On the heels of the invasion forces, 115 concrete caissons (some still plainly visible off the beach) were towed from England to form a five-mile breakwater to enclose an instant harbour. This allowed processing of millions of tons of supplies to keep the momentum of the invasion moving inland.
DAY 9 | Jun. 8, 2019 | Deauville (B, D)
We begin our day visiting and touring the Juno Beach Centre where the D-Day ceremony took place. Few if any trips to historic Normandy offer travellers the opportunity for a D-Day-in-the-Life of what the invading soldier actually encountered in their first days ashore in France.
Your “D-Day 75th Anniversary” Tour, for the first time, offers its members that special insight. We’ll rendez-vous with the D-Day Academy, a convoy of Second World War vintage vehicles – troop trucks, jeeps and DuckWs. Experienced drivers will take us to sites that most tourists never see, including RCAF landing strips built for Allied fighter aircraft, and Longues-sur-Mer, where scenes from the movie “The Longest Day” were filmed in 1961.
DAY 10 | Jun. 9, 2019 | Deauville (B)
Today we travel inland from the famous D-Day beachhead to explore elements of the Battle of Normandy that raged into July and August. Among the crucibles of these offensives was the tank battle led by three British Armoured divisions against German Panzer divisions along Bourguébus Ridge. !t proved extremely costly (British casualties numbered 4,000 and 500 tanks lost, 36% of its tank force in France. German lost 250 tanks and by this time over 90,000 casualties in a month of fighting in the Battle of Normandy).
At Verrieres Ridge, on August 19 and 20, 1944, a Canadian rose to the challenge at a critical moment. With the American 1st Army racing northward toward the Germany 7th Army near the town of Falaise, the Canadian 4th Armoured moved southward to meet the Germans, thus trapping German forces in a giant vise.
Maj. David Currie (born in Saskatchewan) and his C Squadron, with a company of Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders defended their zone, then launched an offensive capturing the remaining half of the village. He was awarded the V.C.
Our tour will visit Verrieres Ridge and the Bretteville Canadian cemetery at Cintheaux, and the Memorial Mont-Ormel, to help our tour better understand the bigger picture of the Battle of Normandy after D-Day.
DAY 11 | Jun. 10, 2019 | Deauville - Dieppe (B, D)
The day’s journey takes us northeast of the D-Day beaches, along the coast of France to the location of Canada’s Second World War crucible – Operation Jubilee on August 19, 1942 at the French seaport of Dieppe. Here, Canadian troops made a first attempt to crack Hitler’s Atlantic Wall. That August day, 6,000 soldiers (mostly Canadians) launched the Dieppe raid. Those nine hours on the Dieppe beaches were the nine bloodiest hours in Canadian military history; more than half the assault troops became casualties.
We will visit the Theatre Museum in the town, the historic beach where nearly a thousand Canadians died and the War Graves Commission cemetery just outside the town site.
Upon return, the tour group will have a last chance to wander the shopping areas of Deauville and prepare for the other Ted Barris tradition on these tours – the farewell dinner.
DAY 12 | Jun. 11, 2019 | Deauville - Paris - Toronto (B)
Hotel check-out and early departure for Paris for your flight home. Air Transat flight 189 departs Paris, Charles du Gaulle airport at 1:45 p.m. arrives Toronto at 4:10 p.m.
*CDN$ p.p. dbl. occ. Single supplement: $1,100 . Airfare available from most Canadian airports, please enquire. **Minimum 20 passengers required for a Merit Travel Tour host.
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