Located 6 km from Caen on the canal of the same name, the Pegasus Bridge at Bénouville was renamed in honour of the British soldiers who captured it, making the bridge the first objective taken by Allied troops after the Landing in Normandy on June 6, 1944.
As the only point of passage over the waters linking Caen to the sea, the two bridges ( Bénouville and Ranville) had to stay intact to allow the Allied troops (who landed on Ouistreham beach) to pass through.
On the night of June 6th, the 6th British Airborne Division arrived by glider and stormed the site of Bénouville under the command of Major John Howard. Six gliders were used in the operation: three aircrafts landed landed and took the Bénouville bridge while the other three seized the nearby Ranville bridge.
The operation was a delicate one as the German army had already rigged the bridge with mines that were ready to explode at a moment's notice: the British troops' strategy therefore had to combine speed with the element of surprise.
The six gliders (each carrying 30 soliders) landed that night, going unnoticed by the German troops who were awaken with surprise.
The Allies' mission was a great success before dawn on D-Day, but heavy losses were sustained. More than 2,000 soldiers rest in peace at the Commonwealth War Cemetery at Ranville several kilometres from the museum.
The name Pegasus Bridge was chosen to commemorate the site after the badge that the British soldiers wore on their uniforms, the winged horse from Greek mythology.
In 1961 the bridge acquired celebrity status after being featured in the D-Day film "The Longest Day" produced by Darryl Zanuck.
Replaced in 1994 by a new bridge, the original Pegasus Bridge is now on display in the museum's park.
- June, 5 at night, film projection : JUNE 6, 1944 THEY WERE THE FIRST by Jean Michel VECCHIET, Pegasus Memorial, Museum Park in Ranville.
- From May 1, to december 15 - Exhibits Not to Forget and Anglo-Canadians War Correspondents.