Churchill MkIV AVRE
Location and info
Boulevard Anatole France, 14780 Lion-sur-Mer
Easy to spot at the north-western side of the town of Lion-sur-Mer on the D514 coast road.
Located near the heart of the Sword Beach landing area, you can miss this impressive vehicle if you’re travelling along the coast road eastwards towards Ouistreham.
AVRE stands for Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers and this armoured vehicle was designed as a ‘bunker buster’ with the ability to destroy concrete emplacements including bunkers, sea walls, and anti-tank constructions.
This vehicle is equipped with a front facing machine gun and a 290mm Petard spigot mortar designed to smash through thick concrete with its 40lb, high-explosive rounds which could be fired over 130metres.
It stands as a memorial to the British troops who landed on the nearby Sword Beach sector – the beach is just a few yards away from the vehicle – and was the idea of General Sir Ian Harris who commanded the 2nd Royal Ulster Rifles who landed in the area on D-Day.
The Churchill has undergone several refurbishments over the years, usually around a significant anniversary of D-Day, and remains in a good condition despite it being subjected to the environment.