Gold Beach

Gold Beach

Gold Beach

Gold, commonly known as Gold Beach, was the code name for one of the D-Day landing beaches that Allied forces used to invade German-occupied France on 6 June 1944, during World War II.

Gold lay in the area assigned to the 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division commanded by Major General Douglas Alexander Graham, and the 8th Armoured Brigade. These were part of XXX Corps, commanded by Lieutenant General Gerard Bucknall, which in turn was part of Lieutenant General Miles Dempsey's British 2nd Army. Gold had three main assault sectors – these were designated (from west to east): Item, Jig (split into sections Green and Red), and King (also in two sections named Green and Red). A fourth, named How, was not used as a landing area.

The beach was to be assaulted by the 50th Division between Le Hamel and Ver sur Mer. Attached to them were elements of 79th (Armoured) Division. The 231st Infantry Brigade would come ashore on Jig Sector at Le Hamel/Asnelles and the 69th Brigade at King Sector in front of Ver sur Mer. No. 47 (Royal Marine) Commando, attached to the 50th Division for the landing, was assigned to Item sector.

Despite fierce opposition initially, British forces broke through the German defences with relatively few casualties. They also had the assistance of the 79th (Armoured) Division, equipped with Hobart's Funnies. These vehicles, such as the Sherman flail tank, proved essential on D-Day. They cleared minefields, laid fascines (to bridge ditches) and trackway across soft sand to assist in exiting the beaches.

The only Victoria Cross won on D-Day was awarded to Stanley Hollis on Gold Beach. During the assault on the beach and clearing the Mount Fleury battery that CSM Stanley Hollis's actions enabled D Company to open the main beach exit. Later that day his bravery at Crepon saved the lives of several of his men.


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