View Full Version : 64 years ago.

6th Jun 2008, 20:29
A clue.


6th Jun 2008, 20:31
Nicely done, con. It's been forgotten almost. One of the top five (by my reckoning) events in human history, and it's been forgotten.

God bless 'em.

6th Jun 2008, 20:35
Thank you my friend, I've been waiting all day for someone to bring this up, but...........................:(

And yes God Bless them.

6th Jun 2008, 20:45
A generation of brave men, unlike no other.

6th Jun 2008, 20:47
Well I remembered.

What a poignant photo that is... one minute to the beach, then drop the ramp to let the bullets in, having watched your mates in front of you...

Scooby Don't
6th Jun 2008, 20:55
And lest the Yankbashing/Britbashing rear its ugly (at least here :E) head, let's not forget there were FIVE D-Day landing beaches.

Two American

Two British

One Canadian (actually the largest contingent by %age of population)

Brave men all, whether wading onto the beach, landing by glider or dropping by parachute. Brave too were those manning the covering naval vessels, landing craft and aircraft.

One wonders what we'd do today if every able-bodied man between 18 and 40 had to either join an essential occupation or put on a uniform and leap into the fire....

6th Jun 2008, 20:55
I did remember as I checked the date this morning but have not seen it mentioned on any news items.
That pic says it all.
I was aged 7 and still remember a teacher coming into the class to tell our teacher that a 'second front' had been opened, she burst into tears. Though too young to really understand, we kids were familiar with G.I.'s and B17's and knew something important had happened in the war.

Notso Fantastic
6th Jun 2008, 21:58
I didn't forget! I live where many of those involved set off across the Channel. Although I am on a course at Gatwick, I had a quiet think to myself when I saw the date and said a quiet thankyou to those who crossed the channel from here into a deadly and uncertain future on June 6. They didn't 'give' their lives, or 'sacrifice' them, they had them taken away painfully and brutally. So often we show that we don't deserve their loss. I sometimes go to the Royal Navy Memorial at Southsea. It's painful to read the names of the war lost. The sheer number is mind boggling. All drowned, shot, blown up, frozen to death. It's like seeing the Vietnam Memorial in Washington- every name carries a story of horror.
That's all I could spare. Then it was back to 757 Hydraulics and TCAS!

6th Jun 2008, 22:02
Diary by an LCM skipper on Sword Beach

20.00 hours - embarked in landing craft.
22.00 hours - arrived Portsmouth. tied in alongside L.C.T.A. - Sea choppy, strong wind.
Rev. - 06.00 - sailing cancelled for 24 hours. Moved to fresh berth. Sea rough, wind force 4. Too rough to cook breakfast.
Rev. 06.30 - managed to make tea, one man holding the stove, one holding the kettle.
07.45 - orders received to sail.
08.00 - sea still rough.
09.00 - first watch at wheel; - sea rough, unable to hold course.
12.00 - unable to cook food - living on Bic and chocolate.
12.30 - sea sick.
13.00 - tank working loose, rolling from side to side.
14.00 - aircraft overhead.
16.00 - managed to make tea, waves thirty foot high - shipping water fast.
05.00 - cleaned guns - removed tarpaulins, clear up deck ready for action.
05.30 - made tea - removed securing ropes from tank,
06.00 - lost escort, steaming on our own at 12 knots, shipping water.
06.30 - sighted LCI - tried to come alongside. - Sea too rough.
07.00 - 8 miles off beach - looks quiet.
07.30 - steaming for the beach - with LCGs.
07.45 - US cruiser alongside. Took on board Lt Col. - Tank Corps.
08.00 - 3 miles of beach being shelled. Flak ships - shelling houses on beach.
08.05 - standing on cockpit - feeling very elated, giving commentary to crew in well deck, shell - 5 yards away, not feeling so elated.
08.10 - beached alongside LCIs - machine gunned. Marine Commandos landing - beach black with dead.- craft alongside hit with shell. tank ashore. Marine tanks going up beach - several hit - T.L.C Bulwing(?) - Navy still shelling. Tracers by the million going ashore - well deck full of water.
08.15 - being shelled. Going to rescue of one our landing craft - mined, shelled from beach. Shells hitting, don't feel too good. 15 hits, 35 officers severely wounded. Took over wheel - had to leaving one of our craft.
08.20 - 5 craft destroyed out of 8 - full speed ahead - steaming away from beach - LCM 1293 direct hit, still floating - received reports of remanding craft.
08.30 - go alongside - cruiser warfare officer to cruiser, says he thinks she's dying, move away - shell falls eight yards from cruiser.
08.45 - steam alongside carrier, go on board, got a can of tea; two lb. of Bully and cheese. Bread, -
10.00 - Beach again, get cheered by Navy.
11.00 - ditto
11.30 - ditto
14.00 - stunned - quiet on beach.
15.00. - Land troops can't get off, change clothing - have wet of tea - take on Sub Lt. Smith RN from Porthcawl. - have a sing song - quite happy,
15.15 - oblivion - direct hit from bomb. hit ramp - bows blown off craft, thank the Lord for saving my life - check up on crew -3 dead - remove.
16.00 hours - rifles etc. - abandon craft - deaf in both ears. - all kit lost. - get craft. - 50 F.C. had cup of tea, sleep - badly shaken."

tony draper
6th Jun 2008, 22:10
Watched a thing about the D Day Landings on the History channel the other day, massive bombing raids and Naval Bombardment preceded the landings and the chaps thought that no one could be left alive to defend those beaches,you would think the Military would have learned by then that this had not worked in the First World War,nor had it worked at Monti Casino,there were plenty defenders left alive

6th Jun 2008, 22:20
Dad has alzheimers and doesn't remember much. But he was there and its one of the few things he does remember. He remembers the teenage sub-lieutenant who joined his first ship in the morning and was dead before midnight. A memory that makes him cry. He was after all, only a teenager himself.

Worked at Heathrow with a chap who was there. He trained for the landing for a year and a half. Having reached the beach he was in the front row in their landing craft. As the ramp went down he ran into the water and was immediately hit in the belly and went down. A sailor grabbed his webbing strap and dragged him back into the landing craft and that was the end of his war. He says he doesn't know if he was lucky or not, but his Mum was pleased to have him home.

6th Jun 2008, 22:22
and they must have been just as scared and many ended up just as dead. I'll probably get yelled now for saying that, but I mean it to say that I am thankful to have been spared from that event or any like it.

No I didn't forget it. I think it's one of the greatest stories ever and after reading about it, I know it could have gone wrong in so many ways.

6th Jun 2008, 22:32
He was after all, only a teenager himself.

A point that seems to be forgotten by many - most of those involved were either teenagers of only just out of their teens. When they should have been out chasing girls, getting drunk, etc. and enjoying their youth, they were fighting for their lives and ensuring that many in the future (such as me) do not have to.

6th Jun 2008, 22:36
Our civilization rests on their shoulders. I know nothing of their courage and sacrifice but in my Heart. Heroes all.

6th Jun 2008, 22:37
It's been forgotten almost.

one of the saddest comments I've seen on here.

6th Jun 2008, 22:48
I remembered but I didn't see anything on the news about this, it's all about the price of oil and house prices.

6th Jun 2008, 23:05
Nicely done, con. It's been forgotten almost. One of the top five (by my reckoning) events in human history, and it's been forgotten.

Over 8,000 French civilians were killed by the shelling and carpet bombing that preceded Operation Overlord. Did you remember them today?

Just because noone started a thread on an aviation bulletin board it doesn't mean events that happened long before many of us were born have been forgotten.

Do you remember the Battle of the Crimea as well? It meant German forces had to be moved from France and the Benelux to the Eastern Front helping D-Day to be so successful. Did you think of the 17,000 Soviet soldiers who died in that campaign?

6th Jun 2008, 23:06
The chattering classes don't generally get involved in history. The price of their houses and the Chelsea Tractor drivers knocking them off their bicycles are of far more interest to them than the actions of the brave men of long ago who guaranteed them their continuing right to chatter.

Doors to Automatic
6th Jun 2008, 23:14
Couldn't agree more!

What a contrast between the courage of these soldiers - people I will be in awe of and proud of for the rest of my life and the proliferation of yellow-bellied cowards who run every institution in this country today, supported by armies of "clever" Guardian-reading chatterati happy to pontificate on everything from the comfort of their armchairs in their terracotta living rooms in the likes of Islington and Hampstead.

It would make most of these people turn in their graves.

6th Jun 2008, 23:25
Over 8,000 French civilians were killed by the shelling and carpet bombing that preceded Operation Overlord. Did you remember them today?

I also believe we should not forget the terrified young Germans that died as well on that day. If you desire to remember other battles in other theaters of war please do so. However, this thread is about D-Day and the men and women who died on this day 64 years ago no matter what uniform they were wearing, or not wearing for that matter.

To everyone else thank you very much.

6th Jun 2008, 23:30
How many of you have stood at the tops of the bluffs overlooking the invasion beaches? One such place is the American Military Cemetery. There are many others.

I found it incredible that a successful landing could take place with the defenders having such a height advantage. It must have been especially terrifying for those landing to look up at the heights.

Each year the 40s channel (4) on XM Satellite Radio runs the invasion news coverage from the NBC (radio) network in "real time", starting with the tentative first newscasts. Of course they were heavily censored, but the time-line is there.

WE Branch Fanatic
6th Jun 2008, 23:51
My late grandfather was there, a CPO Gunner aboard HMS Belfast.


Sadly you are largely right, but those in uniform today do care about history, and those that have preceded them.

7th Jun 2008, 00:05
Thanks for bringing this up cp. I was wondering if anyone would.

Someone once asked my dad if he was going to go back for the 25th anniversary. He said "Hell no, the last time I was there they tried to kill me."

7th Jun 2008, 00:13
One day, we will no longer have people like con-pilot to remind us of these events.

Younger generations will increasingly shake their heads in bewilderment and possibly anger when car-parking is restricted at or around old monuments. Only to find mostly old people gathered about making speeches, waving flags or just standing at attention...

In a sense, that is their right. Battles have been fought, lives have been shattered on every side, for this.

In several hundred years, certainly after a thousand, the greatest amongst us will all be no more than mere footnotes in some definitive and approved edition of the history of the 20/21st century.

I can almost imagine the discussion in history classes: "War made some sense in those days don't you think (before ordinary people finally stopped allowing their elected leaders carte-blanche)? At least, their surviving warriors always returned home to rapturous applause. The wounded were spared no expense and received the best care available under 20th century medicine. The continuing care of soldiers and those of surviving spouses and families was exemplary by all accounts...?! Hey, did you see the news flash - they've officially taken the dodo off the endangered-species list?!" :confused:

7th Jun 2008, 00:27
Two years ago the local newspaper asked my friend Putsy Ellis what it was like, he replied 'We had to do it, that's all there is to say'

He will not be asked again! RIP my long time good friend.

Howard Hughes
7th Jun 2008, 02:08
Everytime I visit a Second World War Memorial it brings me to tears, in particular the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbour, this thread has done the same. It is almost incomprehensible to me what it must have been like, the confusion, the rush of emotions, people falling all around, the noise!:{

I can do nothing now, but to remember and say thank you for all that I have and all that they gave!

THANK YOU! I will always remember you.:ok:

7th Jun 2008, 02:26
Ok it's a line from a movie, but I did remember it this morning when I started the page in my log. Sixty four years ago those boys, and young men, came to the shores of Normandy to free the world from a tyrant.

Thank you, and God bless 'em.

7th Jun 2008, 02:56
The Americans suffered 2000 dead (note: dead, not casualties) on Omaha Beach alone on the first day. Could you imagine any general surviving as commander in chief even 24 hours after a disaster like that in today’s ‘instant news/instant expert/talking heads’ environment?

If I may be allowed a little thread drift: a few days ago, a mass grave was discovered at Fromelles, ( http://www.gulfinthemedia.com/index.php?m=upi&id=257470&lang=en&PHPSESSID=8cc75035317e9dd1706a896ccf25d4cb ) (same country, but a different war – and another horrible bloodletting, this one in 1916). The mass grave had been dug by the Germans to inter just a few of the Allied casualties of one day’s fighting in one very localised area.

After the horrors of Gallipoli, it had been the Australians’ introduction to the Western Front, and it was about as badly handled as it possibly could be. In that one very small area, they suffered 5000 dead, 2000 of them in the first 27 hours, and the British another 1500.

Adjusting those figures to reflect what they’d represent as a percentage of population today, that would be over 10,000 dead – in one day – for modern day Australia. When you consider the way the media react to one soldier being killed in Afghanistan today, it really gives you pause to consider what effect those pages and pages of casualty lists must have meant to families at home, and the dread with which mothers, wives and sweethearts must have felt as they opened the daily newspaper back then.

Back to thread topic: as has been mentioned by others, but what brings me up short any time I visit a military cemetery is the youth of many of the MEN buried there. Probably their greatest legacy is that their sacrifice has allowed us to grow up in a society where we’ve had the freedom to allow the chavs and the mainstream media the freedom to ignore and even forget that very sacrifice.

7th Jun 2008, 03:02
To quote a retired Naval officer & good friend of mine;

All gave some.
Some gave all.
Remember them.


7th Jun 2008, 03:02
I've said it elsewhere on these threads:

If CNN and the rest of MSN were at Normandy 64 years ago the allies would have never made Paris, much less Berlin.

7th Jun 2008, 03:12
I have to agree with you, Dushan. Today's military commanders have to consider how their actions will play today (over and over and over again) on every news channel's (repetitive) offering as much as fighting a war.

7th Jun 2008, 05:35
Thanks for the thread Connie.

It is always an humbling experience to read about it. Such men still exist yet we failed to appreciate them.

http://http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com/wwii/articles/pointeduhoc.aspx (http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com/wwii/articles/pointeduhoc.aspx)

blue up
7th Jun 2008, 08:56

22nd Independent Parachute Company. (Pathfinders)

The spearhead of the Normandy Para drop. They (unofficially, but now proven) landed ahead of the Ox & Bucks light infantry to mark the main drop zones. Interestingly, they included Irish, Austrian and German members. A truly international team. My Grandfather is just below centre. Sgt Alan Kidd is above him and still lives in Wallasey.

Not a very high survival rate on the day. Ranville Cemetry, if you ever pass there.

Notso Fantastic
7th Jun 2008, 09:25
D-Day is commemorated in Portsmouth with a D-Day Museum. I suppose these days we should be amazed Local Councils would open such a thing, but to their credit they have. Nearby is the Naval War Memorial with the thousands of names, including the many colleagues my father trained with who perished amongst the 1400 in an instant when the Hood blew up. He is still alive- it's amazing to think of them dying at 16 in 1940 when others are given so many more years.
Recently a friend and I took our bikes over on a ferry to Caen to visit Pegasus Bridge, the first outbreak of D-Day. There and back in a day, and circuit of local sights, and cheese and wine to come home with. Maybe that is the best way to remember those events- as a joyful holiday. As long as people don't drive past the relics and wonder what that old rusty stuff is!

Effluent Man
7th Jun 2008, 10:36
I took my 10 year old son for a holiday and we did the beaches,the museums and a tour of the sites involved in the Battle of Normandy.He thought it was better than Disneyland would have been and now at 18 has an interest in history.

With a little research we found the site of the first advance airstrip (In a field just north of Bayeux)used by Typhoon tank busters.At that time there were still lengths of the original PSP used to firm up the grass strip.And of course the Mulberry harbours still sit in the bay of Arromanches.On the cliff path just west of the town there is a coastal battery that was destroyed by naval fire.One of the gun barrels remains,split ion half by a direct hit

7th Jun 2008, 10:52
The memory of this tremendous battle brings to mind the time Charles de Gaulle took France out of NATO and sent President Johnson a note telling him to remove all US soldiers from French soil. The swift reply read, 'does that include the dead ones'?

7th Jun 2008, 11:18
I used to live reasonably close to Upottery ( as in "Band of brothers") and got into the habit of making a little annual visit on June 5th.....on a still warm evening it was a place that could even had the hardest headed sceptic believing in ghosts.

BTW going back to the pic that started the thread - if you look hard at the ramp you will see 'elf and safety were around even in '44.

Notso Fantastic
7th Jun 2008, 11:25
I have been astonished how the dreadful events at Slapton Sands where about 700 GIs were lost in training for landing for D-Day happened. It was hushed up during the war, but that seems to have carried on since. Eventually it was admitted they were lost in training, then it came out that E-boats had attacked, and I believe that was the actual occurence. Yet another appalling cockup by the British who were, I believe, responsible for protection. Sometimes we really screw up bigtime when we do screw up. We did that enough in the Falklands! But to lose so many and have it almost forgotten or glossed over seems incredible. Does anybody have any local knowledge over this incident or more background information?

7th Jun 2008, 11:47
Here is my uncle Bill's story - who had an inadvertent trip to Normandy on 6 June 1944 - and who passed away in 2004.


Lest we forget.

7th Jun 2008, 13:08
A D-Day Story (http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=ZDM0YWEwMzA5ZDAzOWE2NGJhNWNlYTU0NmE5OTU3ZjY=)

Landing on Sword Beach, Brigadier General Lord Lovat had his piper play his commandos ashore. They pressed quickly ahead, reaching the Pegasus Bridge almost exactly on time. I say almost, because Lord Lovat felt a need to apologize to Lt. Col. Geoffrey Pine-Cotton of the 7th Parachute Battalion for arriving two minutes late.

His Lordship was severely wounded at Breville a few days later and was unable to return to active duty upon recovery. He became Churchill's Minister for Economic Warfare.

We shall not see their like again.

7th Jun 2008, 14:20
Slapton Sands/ Exercise Tiger was obviously hushed up for very good reasons during World War Two - as for blaming the British - well I guess this is Jetblast so you are entitled but perhaps you also could blame the American's for running such a large exercise off the South Coast of England in Wartime or those pesky German's for having E-boats. At the end of the day these guys were training for the invasion of Europe and in training in Wartime accidents/cock ups happen. Yes it was a stuff up and a tragedy but no doubt lessons were learnt that saved lives on D-day itself.

As for it being glossed over, well the vast majority of the local civilian population had been removed from a sizeable part of South Devon to make room for the Troops and their training so there were few civilian witnesses and the US military weren't going to say a lot. After the War the locals returned and were too busy rebuilding (literally) their lives to call for Public enquiries and the like, and the "Yanks" had gone home. I don't think it was hushed up, it just got put into the category of "there was a war on". If you do visit Slapton you will find a memorial - a Sherman Tank ( which was lost in the Sea during another exercise) was retrieved from the sea off Slapton and sits as a memorial to Exercise Tiger, in the village of Strete at the Southern end of the Sands. These guys are gone but not forgotten.

The one true mystery to me is how the GI's trained for months in South Devon and yet only discovered the hazards and problems of fighting in Bocage country when they got to Normandy...

8th Jun 2008, 02:36
On Another June 6 . . .

"When I was a kid, June 6 was a big deal in our neighborhood, which was in a small town straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Those of you who might be Presidential Management Fellows at the State Department might ask, "Like, uh, what is so special about, you know, uh, June 6? Is that your birthday? Is that when the IPOD was invented?" None of the above. We had a neighborhood full of WWII combat vets and they most certainly knew the significance of June 6"

Read the link, he posts the message sent to the troops by Dwight D. Eisenhower, and comments how the language in the address would not pass the PC brigade, today.


8th Jun 2008, 19:07
A sobering thought that often occurs to me. If this had happened a couple of generations later, many of us here might be the ones being remembered.....

Just before the fall of the Berlin wall, myself and a colleague took a group of University Air Squadron student pilots to Berlin and we visited one of the Allied Forces aircrew cemeteries. Although I considered myself a fairly young RAF pilot, being in my early thirties, I was older than all of the fallen; our student pilots were of similar age to most of them.

8th Jun 2008, 19:57
A personal friend of mine runs the D-Day Battle Tours (http://www.ddaybattletours.com/whyUs.php)organisation and receives many WW2 veterans every year. He tells me how great it is dig up memories about the war upon their return to the French beaches. His operation is run from the house opposite the famous church in Sainte Mère Eglise where John Steele hung with his parachute on de night of the invasion.

8th Jun 2008, 20:30
During the period prior to D Day, when allied troops form north of the country were heading south in long convoys, all of them passed our school playground.
The head would extend playtime until the last vehicle, the one with the green flag, had gone past, allowing us and the troops to waive to each other.

8th Jun 2008, 20:44
allowing us and the troops to waive to each other.
And for the G.I.'s to shower us with gum and candy