During the night of the 5th to 6th June 1944, 11.16pm French time, Major John Howard of the second Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire (part of the 6 Airborne Division) took the bridge with 3 Horsa gliders. Ever since, the bridge is called “Pegasus” in honour of the insignia of the 6th Airborn’s soldiers.
The original bridge was a swing bridge. In 1857, Napoléon III inaugurated it as well as the canal. In 1890 and 1905, because of the increasing traffic on the canal, it had to be enlarged but it soon was too short again ; Therefore in 1932 General Council decided to replace it.
Inaugurated in 1935, the new bridge – a bascule bridge Sherzer type of 25 m – became famous in 1944. In 1985 the roadway was widen but as the mechanical weakened it has to be changed: a new bridge – same type but bigger than the older one – was inaugurated soon before June 1994 and the 50th anniversary of D Day in Normandy.
Since 2000, the “original” bridge can be seen in the park of the Memorial Pégasus, few steps from it’s original place.