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Who knew the RAF were on Omaha Beach on D-Day?!

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Who knew the RAF were on Omaha Beach on D-Day?!

Old 8th Apr 2014, 21:48
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Cool Who knew the RAF were on Omaha Beach on D-Day?!

There aren't many perks to being on the Committee of the Association of RAF Fighter Control Officers but corresponding with a Dr Lesley G Dobinson CEng MIET about the participation of RAF radar units who took part in the assault phase on D-Day has got to be right up there!

Embarrassingly (I thought Fighter Direction Tenders were the closest we got) it was news to me that an RAF Radar Unit disembarked from Tank Landing Craft onto Omaha Beach on D-day, at 1700 hours, with their 27 specialised vehicles that were fitted with Radar and Radio Communications equipment. This RAF Unit was 15082GCI. Its function was to protect the American Beachhead, and American assault troops, from air attack by using its Radar equipment to locate the position and altitude of enemy aircraft and, by means of direct radio contact with RAF fighter aircraft, to direct them to intercept and engage the enemy aircraft. This was a facility that the US Military were unable to provide themselves at that time.

This little known RAF Unit was awarded 4 Military Crosses, together with 2 Military Medals and a Croix de Guerre to their Chaplain, Medical Officer, Commanding Officer and the Chief Technical Officer - quite amazing when you consider that RAF Officers, throughout the whole of WW2, were only awarded a total of 69 Military Crosses!

Dr Dobinson (now aged 90) was one of the technicians that landed with 15082GCI Mobile Radar Unit on Omaha Beach on D-Day and he was personally responsible for getting the 15082GCI RAF Memorial erected on the Beach a couple of years ago. I believe he is the only surviving RAF veteran from the D-Day landings on Omaha Beach.

I'm delighted that he will be attending the 70th Anniversary events in Normandy which will include attending the unveiling by the Commanding General of the new 29th Infantry Division USNG statue and laying a tribute at the 15082GCI RAF Memorial.

This is just one small attempt to spread the word and help Dr Dobinson to achieve appropriate recognition for 15082GCI and the key role that they played in Operation Overlord.
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Old 8th Apr 2014, 23:07
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I knew of the unit's existence as there were 2 RAF mobile radar convoys landed on D Day at Omaha and Juno. The History of the FDT's and mobile radar convoys that were involved in Operation Neptune can be found here.

http://www.rquirk.com/cdnradar/cor/chapter11.pdf

Plus you can add the two RAF/USAAF manned mobile radar units airlifted into Arnhem as part of Market Garden to that as well (though neither unit got to do their planned mission due to 3 of the 4 gliders carrying them and their radars were lost, one landed outside the landing zone when the tug was shot down, One glider was shot down while under tow and the third was destroyed on the ground before unloading. (the radar's were AMES Type 6, with two gliders carrying the transmitter / aerial equipment, while the other two gliders had the display and radio systems on board, both gliders that were lost in flight had the same load, thus the systems were unable to operate). Details are here

6080 & 6341 Light Warning Units, 38 Group : History

Oosterbeek Airborne Museum does have a Type 6 transmitter antennae system on display, which suggests that it was the Display / Comms equipment was on board the gliders which were lost before landing (which is a pity as a working ground to air radio could have been a massive game changer on that operation). I do know that a LAC RDF Mechanic from one of the units was killed in a tree while trying to rig an aerial to get working long range radio comms.
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Old 9th Apr 2014, 07:46
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Many thanks MAINJAFAD

The Association has taken upon itself the task of protecting and promoting the heritage and achievements of the 'radar' units and the people who manned, operated and maintained the systems during WW2. Specifically this year for the 70th Anniversary, we are hoping to promote the D-Day participation of RAF radar units who took part in the assault phase and are producing a pamphlet on the topic for the Bentley Priory Battle of Britain Museum and the Air Defence Radar Museum so the additional information you provided will be invaluable to the Heritage team who are currently doing the bulk of the research

I'll also make the Heritage team aware of your interest and knowledge as they may wish to PM you to swap stories!

Thanks again
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Old 9th Apr 2014, 09:31
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A fascinating read ... many thanks for the post, Agatha, and to MAINJAFAD for the links

Nice work, Scopies
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Old 9th Apr 2014, 10:06
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MPN 11 - we live to serve!!
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Old 9th Apr 2014, 15:16
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I was involved with the ADRM as volunteer when I was an ECPO at Tidytoilet about 10 years ago and they do have a display that covers the role of the mobile convoys and FDT's throughout WWII and beyond. Everything I have is taken from there. One of my fellow SNCO's from there at the time made me aware of the Type 6 at Oosterbeek (I do have a couple of photos of it via him). As regards other sources, National Archives at Kew may hold something, but nothing stands out on their search engine for the 15082 or 15083 GCI convoys (nor the two light warning units that were airlifted into Arnhem).

Last edited by MAINJAFAD; 13th Nov 2015 at 13:56.
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Old 9th Apr 2014, 15:35
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Thanks again - much appreciated!
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Old 9th Apr 2014, 16:17
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Found this link that has a lot of detail about 50082.

Introduction : The RAF at Omaha Beach
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Old 9th Apr 2014, 17:10
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If anyone comes across anything about the early mobile GCA outfits ....

... Oh, come on, we are all mates here, and I was once GATCO 11 GP
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Old 9th Apr 2014, 18:38
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Great stuff MAINJAFAD, really appreciate all the support

Agatha
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Old 9th Apr 2014, 19:20
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Having looked though that last link, I'd say that the bloke who has done the research for that site has dug out everything that Kew has on the subject.
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Old 11th Apr 2014, 15:09
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On the RAF website is an article on a chap who was at Gold beach and the equipment he used. Veteran Dusts Off Top-Secret D-Day Equipment
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Old 11th Apr 2014, 15:28
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After D Day and fighting E Boats in the channel, my father was drafted into HMS Boxer in August 1944. It had just completed conversion from its original LST configuration to a Fighter Director ship and began training to provide air support to the supply lines for the British army advance into Germany. The ship's crew were RN and the operational personnel were all RAF. The ship's shallow draught allowed it to go close inshore and removed the need to land on a still hostile beach and set up ashore. After VE Day they set off in June 1945 for the invasion of Japan but the Japanese surrendered while they were still undergoing minor repairs at Malta.
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Old 11th Apr 2014, 22:52
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Extra snippet from the Wiki entry for HMS Boxer:
HMS Boxer carried the writer/comedian Spike Milligan from North Africa to Italy when he served with the 56th Heavy Regiment Royal Artillery.
"A sure cure for seasickness is to sit under a tree."
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Old 12th Nov 2015, 19:45
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A "last" 2nd TAF Veteran rejoins the real D-day heroes 🇨🇦

Agatha (with unpredicted foresight) is probably now correct in Leslie Dobinson being the sole living Veteran of the RAF who landed on Omaha Beach; for ex-Flt Sgt Muir Adair RCAF the "Chiefie" Radar Technician of 15082GCI, and last Canadian survivor, sadly passed away on 16th August 2015 aged 96 in Langley British Columbia, shortly after his grandson accepted the insignia of Chevalier of l'Ordre National de la Légion d'Honneur on his behalf. Chiefie Adair was Agatha's unspecied Other Rank, who was awarded the Croix de Guerre. Having swum ashore at an isolated location he gathered together a motley squad of RN, Army and US stragglers and led them in the clearance of German defenders from an orchard that separated him from the 15082GCI survivors who had regrouped with salvaged equipment a mile or two inland. The two other OR's, who were awarded the even rarer, for the RAF, Military Medal were the LAC Nursing Orderly and Adair's "brother" Flight Sergeant. May they all rest in peace. WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.
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Old 13th Nov 2015, 09:11
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Gessoo

Very many thanks for the information about ex-Flt Sgt Muir Adair RCAF the "Chiefie" Radar Technician of 15082GCI.

Huge apologies for any offence caused by me not being aware that Muir Adair was still alive until recently.

I will pass on the information to Les Dobinson and add the information to the Association of RAF Fighter Control Officers heritage database.

RIP Muir Adair. Per Ardua.

Agatha
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Old 13th Nov 2015, 11:10
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R.A.F. Units in D-Day landings on Omaha Beach - Allied Units - General. - WW2 Talk
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Old 13th Nov 2015, 13:48
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Thanks Nutloose - those are some of the memoirs of Dr Les Dobinson mentioned above

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Old 13th Nov 2015, 17:31
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Ex-Flt Sgt Muir Adair RCAF

Gessoo

I passed on the information you posted about ex-Flt Sgt Muir Adair RCAF to the Association of RAF Fighter Control Officers.

If you are in contact with ex-Flt Sgt Muir Adair's family would it be possible to ask if they have any photos of him during the War that they'd be prepared to share with the Association?

Scanned copies of the photos would be very much appreciated to add to our archives and the papers that we have written on the subject to try and ensure that we never forget. The D-Day Fighter Control Story - Association of RAF Fighter Control Officers

Many thanks

Agatha
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Old 14th Nov 2015, 09:37
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Thanks all for that history lesson, and much respect to Dr Dobinson and his comrades.
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