Today marks the 70th anniversary of D-Day, aka Operation Overlord, the single largest seaborne military invasion of all time. How has Normandy changed in the seven decades since? In these perfectly matched photo composites, Getty Images photographer Peter Macdiarmid compares the quaint towns in 1944 and 2014.
Macdiarmid has actually done a similar project before — earlier this year, he published a series of photos that show WWI battle locales with what they look like in the present day. For the anniversary of D-Day, he set out to do the same thing, but with one of the most expansive and critical battles of World War II. By visiting the locations of Getty’s archival photos of the invasion, he was able to perfectly match the perspectives to their current-day incarnations.
From troops preparing to board their craft in Dover, to the cleanup and burial of fallen soldiers after the invasion had ended in France, the composites span the entire day — it’s a fascinating batch. Check them out below.
Operation Overlord: A large number of German prisoners are gathered on the beach of Bernières-sur-Mer. June 1944. They are guarded by British soldiers from the 2nd Army on Juno Beach (Bernières sector). Bernières-sur-Mer, Normandy, France.
United States Army trucks and jeeps are driving through the ruins of Saint-Lo. July 1944. A group of American soldiers is walking along the street. The town was almost totally destroyed by 2000 Allied bombers when they attacked German troops stationed there during Operation Overlord in June. France.
Troops of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division are landing at Juno Beach on the outskirts of Bernieres-sur-Mer on D-Day. 6 June 1944. 14,000 Canadian soldiers were put ashore and 340 lost their lives in the battles for the beachhead.
Three soldiers of the 23rd Field Ambulance (RCAMC = Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps – Medical Service of the Canadian Army) of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division place flowers on graves. June 1944. Two soldiers wear the armband for the Red Cross. In the background is the church of Saint Georges de Basly. In the four temporary graves are a Scottish, a Canadian and two French civilians. Saint Georges de Basly, Normandy, France.
The British 2nd Army: Royal Marine Commandos of Headquarters, 4th Special Service Brigade, making their way from LCI(S)s (Landing Craft Infantry Small) onto ‘Nan Red’ Beach, JUNO Area, at St Aubin-sur-Mer at about 9am on 6 June 1944.
American craft of all styles pictured at Omaha Beach, Normandy, during the first stages of the Allied invasion.
US troops on the Esplanade at Weymouth, Dorset, on their way to embark on ships bound for Omaha Beach for the D-Day landings in Normandy, June 1944.
The body of a German soldier belonging to the 2. Infanterie Regiment lies on the Market Square. 15 June 1944. The two jeeps in the center of the photo and the two GIs at the left are part of the MP Platoon of the 2nd Infantry Division. Trevieres, Normandy, France.
A Canadian soldier is directing traffic in Bernieres-sur-Mer. 6 June 1944. The Canadians landed at Juno Beach which is nearby. 14,000 Canadian soldiers were put ashore and 340 lost their live in the battles for the beachhead. .
The British 2nd Army: Commandos of 1st Special Service Brigade landing from an LCI(S) (Landing Craft Infantry Small) on ‘Queen Red’ Beach, SWORD Area, at la Breche, at approximately 8.40am, 6 June 1944.
Boats full of United States troops waiting to leave Weymouth, Southern England, to take part in Operation Overlord in Normandy, June 1944. This location was used as a launching place for Allied troops participating in the invasion of Nazi-occupied France on D-Day, 6 June 1944.
A woman is walking away with two pitchers while three children are watching the scene, and an old man is fetching water next to a GI expected to wash his bowls. Sainte-Marie-du-Mont was liberated by a group of paratroopers of the 501st and 506th Regiments of the 101st Airborne Division.
A view of a town square, stockpiled with supplies and ammunition earmarked for the impending D-Day invasion of France, Moreton-in-Marsh, England, May 1944. The building at the extreme left is the Rededale Arms Hotel.
An older couple watch a Canadian soldier with a bulldozer working in the ruins of a house in the rue de Bayeux. 10 July 1944. The church towers in the background have survived the Allied bombing intact. Caen, Normandy, France.
American troops stand by with stores on Omaha Beach after the D-day landings.