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30th AprilĀ 2004

D-Day Postcards

It's almost 60 years since allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy in 1944. The operation took months of planning - and the victory was key in securing a successful end to World War II.

Please click here to view some of your pictures of Normandy beaches.

Please click here to view some of your pictures of the war cemetery.

Please click here to view some of your pictures of Pegasus Bridge.

As another significant anniversary passes, many historical experts will recount tales of the bravery and military skill that was needed to ensure the allies were successfully able to invade mainland Europe.

However it wasn't only the armed forces of Britain and her allies that gathered all the necessary intelligence - the general public played their part.Back in 1943 the British Admiralty urged Britons to send in their postcards and photographs of places in France. This proved easy because before the war France was one of the most popular foreign destinations for British holiday makers.

The Cabinet War Office decided to utilise this resource, and began a specialised intelligence gathering operation - being careful not to reveal any military plans to the Germans. They started a public appeal - calling on civilians to provide them with aerial images that would offer vital clues for invasion and landing sites (ie the slope of a beach, or woodland on the coast etc).

In order to deceive the Germans, the War Office requested pictures of the entire French northern coastline.This fooled the Germans who naturally assumed the invasion was planned at the site of the narrowest crossing - Calais. The pictures the military actually studied were of the Normandy Beaches - which was actually one of the longest crossings...

The public sent in thousands of postcards and holiday snaps which were vital to the D-Day campaign. These are now all stored at the Duxford Museum in Cambridgeshire.

TODAY APPEAL

Now we want to repeat the exercise. We want you to send in ANY CONTEMPORARY PICTURES / PHOTOGRAPHSyou have of the area around Arromanches. It will be interesting to see how much the area haschanged since the war appeal was made.

You can send us the image as an email attachment by clicking HERE. Or alternatively you can post to:

D-DAYPOSTCARDS
BBC Today Programme
Room G630
Television Centre
London
W12 7RJ


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