Va07 St Valery en Caux
Clifftop anti-aircraft gun site with 1940 British memorial
Va07 St Valery en Caux site overview
What to see
The port towns located along the upper Normandy coastline were all well defended by German forces following their occupation of northern France in 1940.
The larger ports – Le Havre, Fecamp, Dieppe, and Le Treport – obviously featured the highest density of buildings but there are still plenty of bunkers to discover at some of the smaller towns.
Saint-Valery-en-Caux, between Fecamp and Dieppe, is just one of those ports and features some interesting buildings, mainly on the eastern cliffs overlooking the port where you can find strongpoint Va07.
The site is mainly an anti-aircraft position, but the most obvious building here can be seen from the car park next to the casino in the town, a casemate for a 7.5cm field cannon. What makes this clifftop construction so memorable is that the front of the casemate is missing having broken off when the cliff supporting it below collapsed. A personnel shelter next to it is also on borrowed time.
On top of the cliff – accessed via a series of steps – you can find a number of overgrown structures including an L409A open emplacement and an L410A bunker for 3.7cm anti-aircraft guns. The L410A bunker can be visited inside but you’ll have to crawl through the vegetation to get to it and inside it’s a mess of litter. There’s also an R621 group shelter here, but only the roof is visible.
The lofty location has two monuments standing proud over the town – a memorial to the British Army’s 51st Highland Division who were cut off and forced to surrender at the port in June 1940 after a fighting retreat from the Somme area against rapidly advancing German forces.
The second is a monument to aviators Dieudonne Costes and Maurice Bellonte who flew over the town as they made the first successful non-stop flight from Paris to New York in September 1930.