6th June 2024 marks the 80th Anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy. The start of Operation OVERLORD, which was launched by the unprecedented D-Day landings on the beaches of Normandy. This operation concentrated the land, sea, and air forces of twelve allied nations in a high-stakes invasion of Nazi-occupied France.  It was the largest seaborne invasion in history. Along with the associated airborne operations, it marked the beginning of the liberation of France and western Europe.

Today we honor and remember the brave personnel who risked their lives for freedom and peace. Our team here at Select are taking part in a week of events to commemorate the Anniversary and will be out and about on the roads of Normandy with our new branded Chateau du Baffy coach.  Take a look at the Normandy trips we offer by clicking here for Secondary School Trips and click here for Primary School Trips.

In light of the events taking place, we are privileged to host Veteran Cecil Newton, a former Trooper with the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards.   Marking his 100th Birthday at the tail end of last year, the Second World War veteran was ‘a DD Swimming Tank gunner, landing as part of the first wave on Gold Beach.  After destroying a German defensive position, his tank became swamped and he was required to evacuate on to the beach.

One charming medieval village in Normandy shares a special connection with a local Second World War veteran.  The Cecil Newton Primary School in Creully Sur Seulles is named after Cecil Newton, a veteran tank gunner who served in the liberation of Western Europe.  Over the years, Cecil has made many trips to the landing beaches to pay respects and remember the friends he has lost.

Cecil Newton was a British World War II veteran who served with distinction in the British Army. Born on June 18, 1915, in Ipswich, Suffolk, Newton joined the army at a young age and was involved in several key operations during the war.

He served in the Royal Engineers, a corps of the British Army that provided military engineering and other technical support to the British Armed Forces. Newton was known for his bravery and leadership, particularly during the Normandy landings (D-Day) on June 6, 1944, one of the most significant and challenging operations of the war. The Royal Engineers played a crucial role in clearing obstacles, constructing bridges, and ensuring the advance of Allied forces across Europe.

For his service, Cecil Newton was awarded several medals, including the France and Germany Star, the Defence Medal, and the War Medal 1939–1945. His contributions to the war effort exemplified the courage and dedication of the many soldiers who fought in World War II.

After the war, Newton continued to serve in the military for several years before retiring. He later became an active member of veteran organizations, helping to preserve the history and memories of those who served during the conflict. His legacy is remembered as part of the broader history of World War II and the contributions of British soldiers to the Allied victory.

If you would like to take your school on a ‘D-Day from both sides’ anniversary tour, which will take you from Portsmouth to Normandy, please get in contact with us to request a quote.

by Emilie Lehkyj


by Emilie Lehkyj


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