Full military honours at Fontaine-Henry

D-Day memorial at Fontaine-HenryAs the military lorry and three military motorcycles filtered their way down the main street of Fontaine-Henry, the Mayor was there in his sash to greet them.

It could have been a scene from 1942.  But this was June 2019 and Colin Harmes of Buckfastleigh, his son and son-in-law who were coming to pay their respects to the Canadian war dead.

“We were a bit late due to police cordons around Arromanches.  But nobody seemed to mind.  The mayor welcomed us in perfect English and soon the champagne corks were popping.”

It was the first time Colin had been to Fontaine-Henry itself.  A large group of villagers accompanied the Buckfastleigh visitors, clad in full battle dress, to the Canadian Monument where the names of those who had fallen were read out with due solemnity.

“It was very moving,” Colin describes.  “I laid a wreath on behalf of the British Legion and then the mayor invited us back for lunch.  I expected a sandwich somewhere.  I couldn’t have been more wrong!”

At the Fontaine-Henry community hall the French twinners had laid on a fantastic spread in true French style.

Only one thing was missing.

“I’m a great fan of French cheese.  I must admit I was a bit surprised to see none on the table at the outset,” says Colin.  “But I needn’t have worried.  After the first course the cheese arrived – and in what style!  It was a real banquet.”

After the jolly party broke up, Veronique, president of the French twinners, guided Colin back to his campsite, with the Buckfastleigh man bringing up the rear on his motorcycle.

“It was a day to treasure.  We were treated like royalty.”

 D-Day memorial meal at Fontaine-Henry