World War II 60th Anniversary D Day Cruise 1944-2004
The Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944 – Operation Overlord – came after five years of war with Germany.It was the biggest and most complex combined operation in history, involving co-operation between the naval, air and ground forces on an unprecedented scale, and marked the beginning of the end of the Second World War.2004 is the 60th Anniversary of this landmark event and during your Anniversary cruise on board Magna Carta you can discover the fascinating stories of people involved, from generals and political leaders to soldiers and civilians, with a series of special exhibitions and events.
|Sunday, D Day Cruise Day 1, London|
|Your cruise begins by meeting the Captain for afternoon tea at the Stafford Hotel at 3pm. At 4pm we transfer to Magna Carta moored nearby in St Katharine’s Dock.
En-route we stop at St Paul’s Cathedral, Christopher Wren’s masterpiece, where we visit the American Memorial Chapel.It honours American servicemen and women who died in World War II, and was dedicated in 1958.
The roll of honour contains the names of more than 28,000 Americans who gave their lives while on their way to, or stationed in, the United Kingdom.
Champagne reception and welcome by the Captain. Dinner aboard. We remain over night adjacent to the Tower of London in St Katharine’s Dock. Renovated in the 1970′s it retains its swing bridges, boutiques and restaurants around the Yacht haven.
|Monday, D Day Cruise Day 2, St Katharine’s Dock to Chiswick Pier|
|Today, we cruise past London’s most famous sights, The Tate Gallery, London Eye, Houses of Parliament, ‘Big Ben’, Royal Festival Hall, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the Tower of London viewed from a perspective seldom seen by other travelers.
We visit the Imperial War Museum. This internationally acclaimed Museum tells the story of 20th century conflict through unique exhibits and extraordinary personal stories.Highlights include Field Marshall Montgomery’s tank, silk robes belonging to TE Lawrence and the 1945 surrender document. The Museum includes a permanent exhibition dedicated to the Holocaust, galleries that contain one of the leading collections of 20th century British art and special temporary exhibitions to mark the 60th Anniversary.
The exhibition will look at the personal experiences of some of those who took part in this remarkable event. It will include film, photographs and documents relating to the planning of the operations, the dramatic landings and the aftermath.
Before returning to Magna Carta we visit Winston Churchill’s ‘Britain at War Experience’ by London Bridge. Take a lift and descend back in time to explore the everyday hardships of war-torn London: the underground where many spent sleepless nights, take refuge in the Anderson shelter and hear the enemy bombers overhead, experience the realistic recreation of a London street in the blitz, learn about evacuation and rationing and may more aspects of Britain’s home front.
|Tuesday, D Day Cruise Day 3, Chiswick Pier to Hampton Court|
Mooring in chic and fashionable Chelsea, we embark on a tour of the Cabinet War Rooms and HMS Belfast.At the Cabinet War Rooms explore the secret underground HQ used by Winston Churchill and his staff during the Second World War.Concealed beneath the streets of Westminster, the site was operational around the clock.
It remained the nerve center of Britain’s war effort until the lights were finally extinguished in August 1945.
We then transfer to HMS Belfast, Europe’s last surviving big-gun armoured warship from the Second World War.
A tour round this complex warship will take you from the quarterdeck to the bridge all the way down through nine decks to the massive boiler and engine rooms.
On the way you will see the triple six-inch gun turrets, the heavily armoured shell rooms and experience what life was like for her crew by visiting the cramped mess decks and officers cabins.
Moor for the night at Hampton Court, the former Tudor Palace of Henry VIII. Dinner aboard.
|Wednesday, D Day Cruise Day 4, Hampton Court to Runnymede|
|This morning we enjoy a meandering cruise following the course of the Thames to Runnymede, the birthplace of freedom for the Western World.This afternoon we take a short trip to RAF Uxbridge. The Battle of Britain Ops. Room at RAF Uxbridge has now been fully restored as a private museum. The Room was closed in 1958 and locked up until the mid 1970′s when it was restored to its current state although very little restoration was required.Before the war, RAF Fighter Command, responsible for the aerial defence of the UK, divided the country into geographic areas named Fighter Groups. Among many other things, RAF Uxbridge was to house the site of a Royal Artillery Anti-Aircraft Operations Room (AAOR), built in the early 1950s, which covered the London West anti-aircraft zone. It is unclear if this was ever built!This is a private visit to a working RAF base where we are taken deep underground to Fighter Command, the actual control centre, seen just as it was.Dinner aboard.|
|Thursday, D Day Cruise Day 5, Runnymede to Windsor, then on to Oakley Court|
|Moored at Bell Weir Lock adjacent to a luxury spa hotel, we have the opportunity to visit the spa before cruising through Runnymede, where King John faced the powerful barons and signed the ‘Magna Carta’ in 1215 as well as viewing the J F Kennedy Memorial.We also visit the Commonwealth Air Forces Memorial, a moving tribute to the 20,000 or so commonwealth airmen who have no known grave.Afternoon excursion to Eton College, our most famous school. Eton was hit by bombs and the following day lessons continued without windows or comment. Afterwards the damaged areas were rebuilt; brick by brick exactly as they were before. Evening cruise to our private mooring. Dinner aboard.|
|Friday, D Day Cruise Day 6, Windsor to Hurley|
This morning we leave early and transfer to The Imperial War Museum in Duxford.This historic heritage complex has a unique collection of some 200 aircraft including biplanes, Spitfires, Concorde and Gulf War jets.
The site retains is wartime atmosphere and, as many of the aircraft based there still fly, there is a good chance that one will take off during your visit.
Now we take a short journey to Cambridge where we visit the American Battle Monuments Commission Cambridge American Military Cemetery and Memorial. First established on 7 December 1943, these 30.5 acres, donated by the University of Cambridge, were selected as a permanent American Military Cemetery due not only to the scenic grandeur, but also because a large proportion of American casualties occurred in this general area of East Anglia.
We return to Magna Carta and leave Royal Windsor behind us, we cruise past fabulous waterside homes through the spectacular Clivedon reach and the open English countryside. We moor in Cookham, once described as ï¿½Heaven on Earthï¿½ by artist Stanley Spencer, one of England’s greatest and most eccentric painters. Captains Farewell Dinner aboard
|Saturday, D Day Cruise Day 7, Hurley – London|
|Following breakfast, disembark at 10 am and return to London.|