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"Nemo me
impune lacessit"

("No one provokes me
with impunity")





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St Desir village is on the N13 to Caen, 4 kilometre to the West of Lisieux. The War Cemetery is about one kilometre to the West of the village on the D159, access is via a small road adjacent to the Cemetery.

The Allied offensive in North Western Europe began with the Normandy landings of 6th June 1944. St Desir War Cemetery is the most easterly of the the Normandy Cemeteries. For the most part, those buried here died in the final stages of the campaign, in pursuit of the German forces towards the river Seine. The Cemetery contains 597 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War, 78 of these graves were brought in from Chartres (St Cheron) Communal Cemetery after the war, together with the four First World War burials now at St Desir.

The above picture, description and site plan by kind permission of CWGC

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Site Plan

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"BELOVED SON
BELOVED BROTHER
GALLANT AND TRUE
IN ALL THINGS"

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"IT SEEMS LIKE ONLY YESTERDAY
WE WERE ALL TOGETHER.
SORROWING MOTHER AND FAMILY"

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"DEATH IS NOTHING MORE
THAN A TRANSITION
FROM A WORLD AT WAR
TO ONE AT PEACE"

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"ETERNAL REST
GIVE UNTO HIM. O LORD:
AND LET PERPETUAL LIGHT
SHINE UPON HIM"

I. C. 9.

MIRRIELEES, DONALD CURRIE
Major 67799 
Black Watch
(Royal Highlanders)
29th Aug 1944
Aged 29 

I. C. 10.

O'KEEFE, JAMES HENRY Corporal 2756230 
Black Watch
(Royal Highlanders)
28th Aug 1944
Aged 22 

I. C. 11.

BILLINGTON, HARRY A
Lance Corporal 14435148 
Black Watch
(Royal Highlanders)
28th Aug 1944
Aged 19

I. C. 12.

HILDRED, GEORGE
Private 14433352 
Black Watch
(Royal Highlanders)
28th Aug 1944
Aged 18  

CWGC
SNWM

CWGC
SNWM
CWGC
SNWM
CWGC
SNWM


(More information
here & here)

(More information here)


Coincidence or not ?

Before we started to research in depth for this website we happened to be in France on a holiday in our Motorhome when we made a call back to the U.K. to get directions to the Memorial. We found out that Dennis was already on his way over for the 61st anniversary celebrations, it was coincidentally the 28th August, the 60th anniversary of George's death. Unfortunately Dennis didn't have a mobile phone so we were unable to contact him. We travelled across to Bourg Achard but after searching the area had to eventually accept that we wouldn't find it and moved on.

The following year we had more of an idea where the monument was and also which Cemetery he was in so we decided to include them in our travels. Jacqui had decided it would be nice to place a white rose on the gravestone and made a note to pick one up from a shop during our travels. After leaving Aramanche we stopped for lunch and had a walk along the beach at a town further up the coast. After looking at the poppy strewn beach we walked along the promenade and Jacqui's eye was caught by something lying on it's own - it was an artificial white rose being blown around by the wind. This is what she took to lay at George's gravestone.

Jacqui put the rose in the Motorhome and we travelled across to Bourg Achard and then on to St Desir where Jacqui placed the rose at the foot of the gravestone, which can be seen in the picture below.

The beach where the rose was found turned out to be ..........'Juno' !!


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Alice

 

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Roger and Dennis

 

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Jack, Alice & Aileen
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René and Monique Hauchard

Pictures from Jacqui's visit in 2005

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Update: 29th June 2014
(More on the 2014 visit here & here)

During a visit in June 2014 we visited the cemetery and a surprise awaited us all. One of the pipers (Alan Toull) who had played at the Mauny memorial service had driven 100km to play at each grave.... what an emotional time that was too!! he said it was an honour - and what a lovely thought.

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Afterwards we sat beneath the flagpoles and had a lovely lunch in the tranquility of the cemetery. Several visitors came to talk to Tom and take pictures.


Update: 8th June 2015
(More on the 2015 visit here & here)

In June 2015 we revisited the cemetery, this time with Christine (George's youngest Sister) and Mavis (George's Sister in Law).

On arrival we noticed that the car park has been resurfaced and a height barrier installed, if we bring the motorhome next time we'll have to park further down the road.

When we entered the cemetery the gardeners were hard at work keeping it in pristine condition. We noticed that the headstone for Major Mirrilees appeared to have been replaced, this is an ongoing practice and one or two other headstones had been replaced with temporary markers while new ones were being made.

After paying our respects we added comments to the visitors book, the contents of which are archived every 12 Months.

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Update: 6th June 2016
We were not able to make the journey to France in 2016 and were very grateful to Alan for taking the time to visit the cemetery and play beside the headstones, remembering the fallen.

 

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"For D-Day, my humble tribute to the soldiers of the 51st Highland Division
in St Desir's cemetery, near Lisieux in Normandy.
With a particular thought for the comrades of our friend Tom Renouf, veteran,
and for the family of the men of the 5th Black Watch Btn
fallen to Mauny: Major Mirrieless, Private Hildred ... R.I.P."


Update: 24th March 2017
(More on the 2017 visit here , here & here)

 

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360 Degree Image
(For 360 viewers i.e. Google Cardboard)

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