June 2003

M7 105mm SPH Priest This day we started in Port-en Bessin and drove the long way around to find the museum. We blamed the French road signs for this. On the first roundabout we found the sign to Port-en-Bessin, on the next two roundabouts we couldn't find the right sign, but we were successful on the last one and made it.
We arrived on time at Musée des Epaves sous-marines du Débarquement. This museum was supposed to open at 10 am, but it was quarter after ten before the owner arrived. First he had to raise the flags and open all of the doors. In the meantime, there were many other people waiting with us. In the crowd there were serveral American and English people. They were complaining that the long wait was taking away time from visiting the rest of Normandy. They stated that they were only there for a few days and there is a lot to see at the former battlefields.
Unfortunately, this museum didnít offer any discounts like the other museums. We also had to guess what the admission costs were as the owner didnít say a word. Later, we learned that he couldn't speak English.
In the museum, we saw items that the owner recovered from the sea. It was somewhat fascinating to see all the different things like, tanks, guns and other personal belongings of the soldiers that didn't make it ashore. These items had layed in the water off the Normandy coast for many, many years.

The top from a tank A Sherman 'tankdozer' M4A1(75) Duplex-Drive Sherman Tank

Port en Bessin was used from June 14th, 1944 as a supply harbour. Every day 1,000 tons of materials were brought ashore and this is where the pipeline PLUTO, Pipe Line Under The Ocean, originated. At that time, the pipe line carried ashore some 8,000 tons of oil daily from ships that lie just off the Normandy coast.

The next thing on our agenda was to find Chateau (Castle) díEtreham. During the war, German major Werner Pluskatís used the castle as his headquarters. We didnít even know if the castle still existed as we couldnít find it on the map, but we had seen it in the movie The Longest Day.
We drove to the village and asked some of the locals if it was still there. We were told that the castle still existed, so we drove in the that direction. We didn't have much luck finding the place, so we asked some other people and even the postman and we still couldnít find the castle. We ended at a stud farm and still no sign of a castle. We didnít see any other person to ask, so we drove on.

Then, we started looking for the head bunker used by major Pluskat. We thought that we could find it at Sainte-Honorine-des-Pertes. We found the sea easily as it wasn't difficult to find with only one road leading into the village. But the footpaths in the dunes had be closed since 2001 for dangerous conditions, so we were unable visit the bunker.