Recreating a jump into Normandy D-Day zone 80 years later, British paratroopers face French customs

SANNERVILLE, France (AP) — There was a contemporary twist for British paratroopers, who parachuted into the historic D-Day drop zone in Normandy to recreate the airborne part of the battle to wrest western France from Nazi Germany’s control 80 years ago: They had to go through French customs and passport control upon landing.

British paratroopers who had landed near the Normandy village of Sannerville, assembled their parachutes and walked across a field to a makeshift border post – a desk, with a passport scanner and two laptop computers, manned by about half a dozen French border officials, some wearing uniforms of the country's customs agency.

Since the United Kingdom has left the European Union in 2020, border checks in France and the rest of the 27 EU member states, have been tightened for British visitors and residents.

The U.K. Ministry of Defense confirmed that the incident took place and but were unruffled by the matter.

Videos of paratroopers' border checks on a Normandy field quickly went viral on social media with users' comments falling on the 8-year-old Brexit divide - some still bitter over Britain's exit from the EU and others mocking the French zest for rules as two staunch allies commemorate the start of the battle that has led to liberation of Europe from Nazis.

British tabloid The Sun called the incident, a ridiculous moment" and said paratroopers on a D-Day jump were “forced to show PASSPORTS to French border chiefs after anniversary drop."

More than 300 British, Belgian and U.S. paratroopers took part in the jump on Wednesday to recreate the events of June 6, 1944.

On Thursday, King Charles III honored the 22,442 British troops who died in the Battle of Normandy and a generation that sacrificed and fought. The king told a commemorative ceremony in northern France that while the number of living veterans was dwindling, “our obligation to remember what they stood for and what they achieved for us all can never diminish.”