66 minutes | Jun 16, 2021

Operation Bluecoat and Men in the Shed, Billy Leblond and Colin Foster

In this episode Anne Marie talks  to La Percée du Bocage museum president, Billy Leblond and Men in the Shed Blogger, Colin Foster about Operation Bluecoat and the story behind Men in the Shed. Men in the Shed tells the story of 18 Allied POWs who literally left their mark on the wall of a wooden shed owned by a French baker in Normandy. The shed (commandeered by the German military) became a temporary jail  for Allied POW's during the fighting following the D Day landings in 1944. "Operation Bluecoat was a British offensive in the Battle of Normandy, from 30 July until 7 August 1944, during the Second World War. The geographical objectives of the attack, undertaken by the VIII Corps and XXX Corps of the British Second Army (Lieutenant-General Miles Dempsey), were to secure the road junction of Vire and the high ground of Mont Pinçon."The attack was made at short notice to exploit the success of Operation Cobra by the First US Army after it broke out on the western flank of the Normandy beachhead and to exploit the withdrawal of the 2nd Panzer Division from the Caumont area, to take part in Unternehmen Lüttich (Operation Liège) a German counter-offensive against the Americans."     — WikipediaColin Foster has been interested in the Second World War from an early age. According to Colin, " being born in 1959 meant that he grew up in an age where good quality war movies were regularly made!"He is a regular visitor to Normandy since 2002 when he started researching the Normandy campaign as the result of his friend stubmling upon the names, ranks, serial numbers and dates of capture of 18 Allied soldiers, written on one of the inside walls of his shed. The old wooden shed, which once served as a grainstore, sits behind what used to be the village bakery in the small Normandy village of St Vigor des Mézerets.  purchased the bakery (by now converted to a house) in 2000. His research to date is recorded on his website Men in the Shed. Billy Leblond has a passion for the History of his paternal grandfather and father with whom he has visited many historical places.His interset for WWII came in college and developed in Lycée. His internships focused on  WW2 museums of Normandy and included Dead Man Corner,  Caen Memorial and Grand Bunker Ouistreham. For the past 5 years Billy has  been  involved  in the  La Percée du Bocage Museum, of which he now serves as president of the museum's board, following Mark Kentell last year. Jean Ménard, the founder of the museum, helped and guided him throughout the years he has been involved. According to Billy Jean Ménard has been instrumental in helping him to understand "the perception of the human aspect of the battles and of the history of veteran to whom we owe so much."Jean Ménard : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rE_fgzNCpZ0Museum: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IONeDC5p7d4La Percée Du Bocage Museum:  https://www.laperceedubocage.frMen in the Shed: https://menintheshed.comOperation Bluecoat Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_BluecoatTo Support Armchair Historians:Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/armchairhistoriansKo-fi: https://ko-fi.com/belgiumrabbitproductions
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