Avenue du Major Howard

14860 Ranville

6th Airborne Division

6th Airborne Division

The Memorial Pegasus is dedicated to the men of 6th British Airborne Division, “the Red Berets”. The various missions for the division on June 6th 1944 are presented in the museum.

The division, commanded by Major General Richard Gale, was composed of parachutists and glider borne troops  transported in Horsa or Hamilcar gliders.

The principal mission of the division was to hold the eastern flank of the invasion forces in order to prevent German counter attacks coming from the east.
This mission was carried out in three ways :
– The bridges across the River Orne and the Caen Canal had to be captured and held intact to enable the seaborne reinforcements arriving from Sword Beach to cross and to prevent the German forces from using them.
– The Merville gun battery had to be put out of action. The 100mm calibre guns could fire down on to Sword Beach and the Allied fleet off the coast.
– The bridges across the River Dives had to be destroyed to prevent German reinforcements, arriving from the east, from crossing. High ground had to be taken and held by the division.

These missions were accomplished with great success before dawn on D-Day but with heavy losses. More than 2000 soldiers paid the ultimate sacrifice and now lie at the Commonwealth War Graves cemetery at Ranville several kilometres from the museum.