June 6th 1944 is still a special day for ex corporal Mike Smythe of the Devonshire Regiment. ‘I had never seen a bidet until that day, exactly 70 years ago. Less than 10 minutes after leaving the amphibious craft on Sword beach, I was washing my genitals in warm French water, knowing full well that the Nazis were freezing their bollocks off on the Eastern Front. Looking back, I can see how this was indeed a turning point in the war. Thing was, as we queued to come ashore, nobody had told us anything about what bidet actually meant, Smythe recalled, his eyes full of tears, his fingers clutching at a ceremonial flannel and a fragment of worn 70 year old soap.
The Princess Royal, watched by heads of state, led the bidet celebrations in a private ceremony in a small out building on Juno beach. In Paris, Prince Charles laid an accidental tribute in a bidet near the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and later apologised for the mistake hundreds of British people went on to make on trips to France in the sixties and seventies.