Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world - Nelson Mandela
‘Normandy Veterans - '75 Years On' is an updated oral history project, recording the stories of veterans of the D-Day landings and the subsequent Normandy Campaign. A key output from the Lottery funded project has been the creation of a Teaching Resource which, through the personal testimony of the veterans we've interviewed, will help to engage your pupils in the story of Operation Overlord. Our video archive features interviews with over 150 Normandy veterans and can be found here
How to use the lesson plans
The six sets of learning materials each tackle a different chapter of the whole Normandy campaign. Within each Lesson plan you will find links to video interviews recorded with veterans who were in action and we hope you will enjoy hearing their first-hand testimonies. Throughout, you will find planned thinking points to stimulate classroom discussion and learning.
Our resources are all provided free of charge and whilst they remain the intellectual property of Legasee Educational Trust we would be delighted if you would download, print off, photocopy, and use in the way that best suits your learning and teaching styles.
Lesson Plan 1
Look at the timeline document up until 5th June 1944. Many steps led to the decision to launch an invasion of Western Europe. The date and location of the invasion had to be kept strictly secret, the majority of troops may have known an invasion was imminent but would have had no idea when and where it would be. This lesson plan will look at the experiences of three veterans in the build up to D-Day.Download
Lesson Plan 2
Look at the time line for the 5-6 June 1944 . Operation Neptune refers to the sea crossing from England to France and the initial landings. Operation Neptune was the biggest seaborne invasion in history.
On 1 June Eisenhower’s chief meteorologist informed him that the hot weather was about to end. Weather reports were so bad that the invasion, intended for 5 June was postponed. New forecasts indicated there may a lull in the bad weather on the night of 5 June. Postponement would have meant delaying the invasion until the next high tide, two week later, destroying morale and losing the element of surprise. Each of the armed forces had their role to play in the invasion.Download
Lesson Plan 3
Look at the time line for the 6 June 1944. The landings were the culmination of a long period of planning. Surprise was an important element of the campaign and Gliders were used to fly in troops and equipment. This was followed by a naval and aerial bombardment of the coastline. The first United States assault troops landed on Utah and Omaha beaches, followed by the Canadians on Juno beach and the British on Sword and Gold beaches. The liberation of Europe had begun. Operation Neptune refers to the landing phase of the invasion, Operation Overlord refers to the Battle of Normandy. This took place from 6 June 1944 to 25 August 1944, with the liberation of Paris.Download
A Special Relationship
Lesson Plan 4
The Allied troops involved in Operation Neptune divided the landing beaches between them: the USA were allocated Utah and Omaha, the Canadians got Juno, and the British took Sword and Gold. Being so far away from their homelands, the Americans and Canadians required significant input from the British, and the substantial contributions of the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force to the landings on D-Day extended far beyond supporting their own troops.
Hollywood has often overlooked the part which the British armed forces played in the D- Day landings, but the key to the success of the operation lay in the cooperation of all the allied forces.Download
Lesson Plan 5
Following the launch of Operation Overlord on 6 June 1944 the five beaches continued to be used for landing troops. These subsequent days are often referred to as D-Day Plus One, D-Day Plus Two etc. Following the successful landings the troops had to fight their way through the Normandy countryside, this is known as the Battle of Normandy and was the scene of fierce fighting between the Allied and Axis forces. The Battle of Normandy ended with the liberation of Paris on 25 June 1944 and the German retreat across the Seine on 30 August.
Operation Neptune and Overlord marked the beginning of a long battle to liberate Europe.Download
Lesson Plan 6
On the Legasee website you will find over 100 individual stories from veterans of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy. Each of the veterans has an individual story to tell and their own reason for telling it after 70 years. As they grow older, veterans often feel that it is important to pass their story onto future generations and ensure that their memories are not forgotten.
You’ll see from the stories below that the long term affects of war are very different for different individuals.Download