Ranville Cemetery and Ranville Churchyard

Ranville was the first village to be liberated in France when the bridge over the Caen Canal was captured intact in the early hours of 6 June by troops of the 6th Airborne Division and the bridge over the Orne river led by Major John Howard, who were landed nearby by parachute and glider. Many of the division’s casualties are buried in Ranville War Cemetery and the adjoining churchyard.

The cemetery contains 2,236 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War, 90 of them unidentified. There are also 323 German graves and a few burials of other nationalities. The Church graveyard contains 47 Commonwealth burials, one of which is unidentified, and one German grave.

When I visited, the cemetery was attended by members of the Normandy Veterans’ Association paying repsect to their fallen comrades or, in their words, “our mates we had to leave behind”.

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