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Pegasus Bridge

Pegasus was the codename given to a bridge over the river Orne, near the town of Caen. The bridge was a major objective of the British 6th Airborne Division, which was landed by glider near it during the Normandy Invasion on the 5th/6th June 1944. It was given the permanent name of Pegasus Bridge in honour of the operation.

The initial assault was carried out by 160 soliders in three Horsa gliders, led by Major Howard. They landed within a fifty metres of Pegasus at ten minutes past midnight on June 6th. The bridge was captured from the few troops guarding it in ten minutes, and it became the first objective seized on D-Day. Further elements of the 6th Airborne landed by glider and parachute throughout the day to reinforce the defenders, and the bridge was successfully held until relieved by British ground units. The first relief was from 6 Commando, led by Lord Lovat, who arrived to the sound of the Scottish bagpipes, played by Bill Millin. Later in the day units of the British 3rd Division arrived, and the bridges were secure.

A museum and memorial can now be found next to the site of the battle, on Major Howard road. It contains the original bridge, which was replaced by a more modern one, and also the bagpipes of Bill Millin.

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