No 4 Commando Museum

Museum of the Franco-British landing on Sword Beach, located across from the site of Ouistreham’s Riva Bella casino, captured by No 4 Commando on 6 June 1944.

Founded by veterans, the museum preserves the memory of the 1st Battalion of Naval Fusiliers, a commando set up by Commander Philippe Kieffer which, incorporated in the British No 4 Commando, was the only French unit to take part in the Normandy landings (on Sword Beach), on 6 June 1944.

The museum charts the history of the French volunteers who, thanks to Kieffer’s tenacity, were able to join the British commandos and take part in a number of operations alongside them. It focuses in particular on their training at the Achnacarry camp in Scotland and how they landed on the beach of Colleville-sur-Orne (present-day Colleville-Montgomery) with No 4 Commando, captured Ouistreham casino and liberated the town, joined up with British paratroopers at Pegasus Bridge, Bénouville, then installed themselves in Amfreville, all in the same day, 6 June 1944. They went on to fight in the Battle of Normandy until late August 1944, then in Belgium and the Netherlands.

 

All the pieces displayed in the museum are authentic, and most of the equipment and uniforms were donated by the families of the British and French commandos.

 

A scale model measuring 3.60 m x 1.10 m helps visitors to picture the landing at Colleville-sur-Orne and the capture of Ouistreham casino.

 

A 26-minute film (with English subtitles), comprised of documents and footage from the time, shows in particular the troops training at Achnacarry.

 

Exhibited in large display cases are many uniforms and weapons used in the conflict, including some very rare pieces.

 

Most of the objects and photographs are labelled in French, English and German.

 

This museum was founded in order to:

  • explain what the commandos were and what they accomplished; and

  • make sure their memory and example live on.

This poem says it all:

 

Tribute to the Kieffer Commando
(to the 177 commandos and their comrades-in-arms)
Commandos, an emblem of hope
flapping in the wind toward the sky of France,
You begin a hymn of deliverance
that echoes through the villages of France.
(...)

Claude Blin

The complete poem by Claude Blin is available at the No 4 Commando Museum

 

Sources : ©Musée N° 4 Commando

  • French commando arm badge

  • Franco-British display and scale model

  • The scale model

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    Practical information

    Address

    Place Alfred Thomas (face au casino) 14150
    Ouistreham Riva-Bella
    02 31 96 63 10

    Prices

    - Full price (adults): € 5 - Young people (over 10 years) and students: € 3 - Groups (over 10 people): € 4 pp - Free for accompanied children under 10 years

    Weekly opening hours

    Daily, 10.30 am to 1 pm and 1.30 pm to 6.30 pm

    Fermetures annuelles

    Mid-October to end-March Local tourist office: Place Alexandre Lofi - 14150 Ouistreham Riva- Bella - Tel.: +33 (0)2 31 97 18 63 - info@tourisme-ouistreham.fr