Juno Beach Normandy was the landing site of Canadian troops on D-Day, flanked by British troops on both sides (Gold Beach to the west and Sword Beach to the east). Like the other four Normandy landing beaches, Juno Beach offers a number of great museums and memorials to visit.
What happened at Juno Beach on D-Day?
Landing troops at Juno Beach Normandy faced an opponent beyond that of the German armies—the natural offshore reefs. Hindered by these natural obstacles, troops landing on Juno Beach landed later than planned and incurred heavy losses in the first wave.
Regardless, they still managed to take control of the area from the Germans by the end of the day. Here are some quick Juno Beach Normandy facts:
Juno Beach objective
The objectives of Canadian troops landing at Juno Beach were to:
- Cut the Caen-Bayeux road
- Seize the Carpiquet Airfield
- And link together the two British landing sectors at Gold and Sword
Juno Beach Casualties
Of the more than 21,000 Canadian troops that landed on Juno Beach, casualties are estimated at 1,200.
Which units landed on Juno Beach?
The Canadian landings on Juno Beach Normandy were the work of:
- 3rd Infantry Division
- 2nd Armoured Brigade
Juno Beach outcome
The storming of Juno Beach resulted in Allied victory and is considered (along with the landings at Utah Beach) one of the most strategically successful of the D-Day beach landings.
Though Canadian troops got a late start on their beach landing, they ended their day ahead of the American and British divisions on the four other beaches.
Visiting Juno Beach Normandy today
Today, visiting Juno Beach Normandy is a great way to take in the area’s D-Day history in a quaint, still undeveloped setting.
The Juno Beach/Canadian sector offers a lot fewer museums and monuments than the other Normandy beaches. It’s also not as well known as some of the others, like Omaha Beach. But, if Canadian World War II history specifically interests you, head to Juno Beach Normandy.
Along the beach you can still see the ruins of German bunkers and some of the original D-Day beach obstacles. For more interesting ways to take in Juno Beach D-Day history today, check out this great video of where to find battle scars in the Juno Beach sector. For all the best Juno Beach museums and monuments, check out these 7+ sites:
Juno Beach Normandy Museums & Memorials
Though there aren’t a ton of museums in this landing sector, the area’s biggest is one of the best Normandy museums for WWII buffs.
1. Juno Beach Center
The Juno Beach Center is Normandy’s only museum dedicated to the Canadian contribution to the D-Day invasions. Located in Courseulles-sur-Mer, you can find it just off the beach itself.
The museum covers the actions of Canadian troops on D-Day but doesn’t stop there. The Juno Beach Center also covers Canada’s contribution to the whole of World War II, Canadian values and cultures, and insight into what life was like in Canada at this time.
The museum utilizes historical artifacts and information, powerful films, as well as interactive exhibits. Ride an amphibious landing craft onto Juno Beach to get a feeling of what Canadian troops experienced on the morning of June 6th, 1944.
Additionally, the grounds around the Juno Beach Center (known as Juno Park) are also full of D-Day history. At the beaches around here you can view old German bunkers and other remains of the Atlantic Wall, beach obstacles, and more. Take a walk around and keep your eyes peeled for the remnants of Operation Overlord.
2. 1944 Radar Museum / Musée Fraco-Allemand du Radar
Located just a few miles from the beach itself in the town of Douvres-la-Délivrande is the 1944 Radar Museum, located at the spot of the area’s German radar station.
This radar station was one of Germany’s most crucial air defense systems along the Atlantic Wall. It consisted of five radar systems designed to identify bomber aircraft course, speed, elevation, then direct this information to intercepting Luftwaffe fighters.
Today, you can visit the station in its original state having been kept intact since 1944. You can explore two refurbished bunkers and learn all about the station’s history and use during the Battle of Normandy (as well as what life was like for the soldiers who manned it).
3. Canada House
One of the most popular D-Day sites in the Juno Beach area is actually a private home known as Canada House. It was the first home to be liberated by Canadian troops following their beach landings when it was taken over by the The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada army regiment.
This grand home sits alone facing Juno Beach. It can be seen in many historical D-Day photos and films produced since. Because of its large size and location, it became a sort of landmark to Canadian troops since it could be seen by every man who landed on Juno.
Since then it has become its own kind of memorial. Visitors stop by to pay their respects to the Canadian troops that contributed to the Allied victory on D-Day.
4. Canadian War Cemetery
The Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery is located in the commune of Bény-sur-Mer and serves as the resting place for Canadian soldiers who lost their lives during the Battle of Normandy.
While many of the graves belong to those who died on D-Day, the large majority of them belong to those killed in July in the Battle for Caen, near where the cemetery is located.
As is typical of the Normandy war cemeteries, the Canadian War Cemetery is impeccably kept and a beautiful place to pay your respects.
5. Juno Beach Memorial Markers
In the area surrounding the Juno Beach Center, you’ll find a number of memorial markers dedicated to various Canadian fighting forces. Here are some to look for:
Royal Canadian Navy Memorial Marker
Under the flying flags of France and Canada with the ocean as its backdrop is the Royal Canadian Navy Memorial marker. Dedicated in 2009 it reads:
In honour of all those who died or disappeared while serving in the Royal Canadian Navy during the conflict of 1939-1945 and in Operation Overlord June 1944 Thank you
It is one of the many moving memorials dedicated to Canada’s D-Day contributions around the Juno Beach Center.
Fourth Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment
This memorial marker consists of a 40-mm Bofors gun and is “dedicated to the memory of the men of the 4th Light Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment who landed at Courseulles-sur-Mer late in the afternoon of June 6, 1944 to provide air defense to Canadian troops who had started fighting for the liberation of Europe from Juno Beach.”
The marker also details the meanings behind the colors on the cannon and some more interesting information surrounding the events. (But I won’t spoil it for you so you’ll have to check it out for yourself.)
Memorial to Canadian Gunners
The Memorial to Canadian Gunners is also a gun memorial. It is dedicated to the “memory of the Canadian artillerymen who from there on June 6, 1944 began the fight to liberate France and to pay homage to those fallen in action who sacrificed everything for freedom.”
The Juno Beach markers
The Juno Beach memorial markers are a set of several vertical pillars and horizontal benches throughout this same area. In both French and English, these markers explain valuable information on the historical events of Juno Beach on topics such as:
- The bunkers
- The Atlantic Wall
- An hour-by-hour account of D-Day’s events
- The Canadian beach landing
- Some personal stories of the soldiers
- The battle order of invading Canadian forces on D-Day
- Illustrative depiction of Canada’s Juno Beach landing
- Information on the different sectors within the Juno landing beach
- And many more
The Historical Marker Database is a wealth of information if you’d like to get more information on these memorials.
6. The Cross of Lorraine
The Cross of Lorraine is a monument in honor of French General Charles de Gaulle. It’s located where he first set foot on French land for the first time since his exile four years prior.
This monument is a large shining Lorraine Cross situated between the towns of Graye-sur-Mer and Courseulles-sur-Mer where he landed on Juno Beach after crossing the English Channel.
7. Brèche le Bisson
On the far eastern end of Juno Beach is Brèche le Bisson and the ruins of an Atlantic Wall bunker. Here on the beach you’ll find the crumbled remains of a German bunker that met its end in the face of a Sherman tank.
There’s not a whole lot to see, but I still find it interesting to step into such structures and imagine the events that happened on D-Day. And if you’re in the area, it’s worth checking out. (The fact that it’s still there after almost 80 years is impressive, no?)
Visit Juno Beach Normandy
The 7+ sites listed above are some of the “best” to visit in Juno Beach, Normandy, but they aren’t the complete list. All around Juno Beach you’ll find tanks and guns, various other memorials, and more (so keep your eyes peeled).
To visit Juno Beach Normandy is the best way to learn about the Canadian contributions to D-Day, the Battle of Normandy, and World War II in general. Add a visit to Juno Beach to your D-Day/Normandy trip to round out your experience.
Hotels near Juno Beach Normandy
If the Juno Beach area is where you’d like to stay on your trip to the D-Day landing beaches of Normandy, start your search here with these great hotel options:
Ferme de la Rançonniére
This relaxing hotel is just 2 miles from the coast and is located on such a beautiful property. This place is pure French countryside bliss. They have an on-site restaurant and a beautiful garden and terrace.
The location is perfect and the Ferme de la Rançonniére has an “Awesome” 9/10 rating. Reviewers absolutely loved their stays here. Check out the stunning pictures and read reviews at the link below.
Le Manoir de Mathan
You may notice a theme here—hotels in Normandy are stunning! Here’s another in the same convenient location with more fabulous French farmhouse feels.
This is another with an “Awesome” rating (I never recommend anything less than Excellent) and reviewers love the location, the restaurant and breakfast, and the large, comfortable rooms. Check out this gorgeous property and more reviews at the link below.
And if it’s on the beach you want, you’ll want to check out La Cremaillere. This French modern hotel is located directly on the beach of Courseulles-sur-Mer (Juno Beach).
This oceanfront property couldn’t be in a better location for exploring all that the Juno Beach has to offer.
This hotel’s location is a favorite among those who’ve stayed here. Reviewers also love the breakfast, the comfortable rooms, and the excellent sea views. Check out some of the lovely photos and more reviews at the link below.
More info for your visit to Juno Beach, Normandy
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