Normandy Veterans Now more than 7 decades have passed since the battles of 1944, very few WWII veterans are returning to their former battlefields. If however you do plan to escort a WWII veteran back to Normandy please contact me to see if I can help. I can usually offer either a free or heavily discounted price to a group with a WWII veteran.
These days I find it is families of now deceased veterans who are making the pilgrimage to see where their loved one fought. I thoroughly enjoy putting together bespoke tours for relatives of Normandy veterans. I will spend time in advance of a tour, researching, planning and arranging the best possible visit I can. This research service I offer FREE OF CHARGE to clients booking a tour with me. I may even be able to assist with your planning, even if I cannot be your guide because I am unavailable on your chosen dates. This of course depends on how busy I am.
Here are some of the things I can do:
Tracing the 1944 route of a particular unit
Arranging access to places not open to the public
Organising ceremonies with the people of Normandy
Acquiring more details about a specific battle or action
Touring Time I have conducted dozens of these special tours over the 15 years and they have provided me with some of the most memorable days of my life. The key factor is to let me know as far in advance as possible what your plans are and what specific unit your relative served in - or at the very least what you DO KNOW, if you don't know his exact unit. It is also important to allow enough time in Normandy for such a once in a lifetime trip. I recommend at least two days of touring, with at least a first day visiting the regular DDay sites, followed by a special day or perhaps two tracing your veterans’ movements.
Unit Histories I can put together details of an astonishing variety of American, British and Canadian units. But if I need to schedule field trips to research a "new" area of Normandy then I stress again, I need plenty of lead time - several months being ideal. Please note - this service is restricted to the departments of Manche and Calvados, an area covering from Cherbourg and Avranches north-south in the west and across to Falaise and Chambois area in the east (approx 4000 square miles.) For other areas of France including Brittany and other departments I'm afraid I cannot help - sorry. But I may know someone who can help, so feel free to contact me.
Relative Killed in Normandy If you wish to follow the route of a relative killed in Normandy there are various things you can do to help us work out where he fought. If your relative is American and was killed in the war you can order his IDPF or Individual Deceased Personnel File. There are many websites on the internet explaining how you do this one is here on the National WWII Museum website. For British and Canadian personnel some archives and records can be ordered from the MOD and other records can be found at the Public Records Office - there is useful information here. I have an extensive collection of books and maps about Normandy and in the case of most Allied units I also know where to look to find more information.
If you are studying the battle of Normandy then again I can help, my knowledge of the ground and geography can aid your research and I can sometimes have access to places not usually open to the public.
Of course some units are easier to trace than others, in general terms Infantry units are easier than Engineer and Artillery units. Air-force squadrons of the Allied countries are usually quite easy to research and there are reasonable records in existence of the airfields in Europe. For the various Corps level Supply and Logistics units things get a little trickier, but whatever the unit we I do my best to provide something.