Macron marks France's 'second D-Day' in Provence

Saint-Raphaël

Southern invasion of France started in the evening of August 14, 1944, two months after the Normandy landings

President Emmanuel Macron has commemorated the 75th anniversary of France's 'second D-Day' - the Allied invasion of Provence.

A ceremony took place at a military cemetery in the Var coastal town of Saint-Raphaël, where the remains of 464 soldiers killed during the invasion - codenamed Operation Dragoon - are buried.

A beach in the resort town - now known as Débarquement Beach - was one of the operation's landing sites, which took place two months after the Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6.

The first soldiers landed at 19h15 on August 14, 1944. Within 24 hours, some 100,000 soldiers had landed on key beaches along the Mediterranean coast of France.

A primary objective for the soldiers was to secure the RN7 road - then the country's longest - up to Lyon as quickly as possible.

In total, the southern invasion involved 400,000 troops from France and its former colonies, as well as soldiers from Britain, Canada and the US, the Defence Ministry said.

General de Lattre de Tassigny's First French Army, which counted 260,000 soldiers from north and sub-Saharan Africa, helped liberate both Toulon and Marseille.

The troops then moved north and had joined forces with Normandy soldiers by mid-September.

Mr Macron was due joined at the anniversary event by Alassane Ouattara, president of the Ivory Coast, Alpha Condé, President of Guinea and former French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

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