Veterans' anger as Normandy tourism campaign excludes D-Day beach
Six French tourist boards have angered D-Day veterans after launching a promotional campaign about the French Second World War, which excludes one of the Normandy beaches where British troops landed.
Four of the five areas where Allied forces landed on 6 June 1944 are included in the campaign, but Sword Beach, where nearly 700 British troops lost their lives or were wounded is not featured in the campaign.
The campaign was unveiled on 8 April by Normandy tourist boards and the Secteur mythique (Mythical sector) included Utah and Omaha beaches, where most of the US forces went ashore, as well as Gold and Juno Beach, where mostly British and Canadians landed but Sword Beach was absent.
Marc Laurenceau of The Battle of Normandy website, DDay-Overlord.com, criticised the decision, saying: "With such an initiative, six tourist offices (Bayeux Intercom, Bessin Seulles Sea Tourism, Marais de Carentan Tourist Office, Isigny-Grandcamp-Intercom, Omaha Beach Tourist Office and Sainte-Mere-Eglise Tourist Office) develop history tourism without worrying about history. What they consider is money.
"The American sector and the town of Arromanches (included in this so-called "mythical sector") attract more than 85% of the Battle of Normandy tourists. Instead of making an effort on Sword Beach and the Commonwealth drop zones, these six tourist offices just care about the most popular areas."
He continues: "What will British and French veterans who landed at La Brèche-d'Hermanville on D-Day think? What will be the thoughts of those who were parachuted northeast of Ranville? What about their fallen comrades, killed to free a piece of land that is not considered "mythical" enough according to these six tourist offices?"
Albert Owens, an 88-year-old from Liverpool, who landed at Sword on D-Day told the Daily Telegraph: "A lot lost their lives in that area. It seems to be an insult to their memory to leave them out. I am amazed with the idea. If you are going to promote some of the beaches, you should promote them all."
But president of the Bayeux tourist office Loïc Jamin said he did not understand the controversy and that Sword was excluded because its tourist office was not part of the same partnership.
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