D - Day commemorations this week

  john bunyan 18:00 04 Jun 2014

I live between Portsmouth and Southampton and we are inundated with WW2 vehicles etc ready for D Day. Our local airfield (Formerly HMS Daedalus) has 8 Dakotas and other aircraft there; the Battle of Britain Historic flight is going over. Tomorrow I am going to a service on Southsea seafront at 1045, there is a demo assault landing by the Royal Marines at noon and the Red Arrows will fly over at 2pm. I would like to have gone to France but cannot for a few reasons. My uncle got the DSC at Normandy commanding an LST that landed RM Commandos under heavy fire.

I remember as a 7 year old seeing waves of aircraft towing gliders on their way.

A time to remember the sacrifice many made at that historic time - there is unlikely ever to be anything on that scale again.

  Aitchbee 19:18 04 Jun 2014

I listened to an 85 year old serviceman [he worked on the tugboats], on Radio4 this morning, recount his personal experiences of the landings on that Normandy beach " the sea was black with 7,000 ships 'n' boats. some of the men didn't even make it to the shore, but we had to leave 'em dead, floating on the water ".

He said, that war was totally justified [never to be slaves of Hitler] but that the recent wars involving British servicemen are/were not.

{ I am paraphrasing slightly, but you can get the gist}

  john bunyan 19:35 04 Jun 2014


I heard that as well; he was only 15 at the time!

Another great programme the other night on TV was about a Fleet Air Arm pilot "Winkle" Brown who ended up a test pilot . He flew over 480 types of aircraft , including captured German ones and did more than 2400 deck landings including being the first to land a Mosquito on a carrier. He also was present at the liberation of Dachau and Belsen, and interrogated Goering. A most amazing life story - well worth watching on catch up if you have it.

  Woolwell 21:59 04 Jun 2014

john bunyan - I watched that program about Winkle Brown. I was disappointed by the lack of flying shots. He was the Captain of Lossiemouth when I served there. He did the first jet landing on a carrier.

  Quickbeam 08:10 05 Jun 2014

On breakfast news this morning it says the D Day veterans Association is winding up after this year as they are now too few left.

  john bunyan 17:46 05 Jun 2014

I went to Southsea today and there was the best, and longest Red Arrows display I have ever seen. There was a RM landing and a Drumhead Service with the Princess Royal inspecting the parade and reading the lesson. Tomorrow will mark a significant milestone as very few veterans are left.

  john bunyan 12:36 07 Jun 2014

I thought the D Day coverage was impressive. Likely to be the last big reunion of that generation's veterans.

A bit disappointed that the thread got 1/3 of the views of the bath water one! (I am getting too old!)

  Woolwell 15:31 07 Jun 2014

Fairly sure that I heard a BARV referred to as a tank at one stage.

Lots of pictures posted on social media but almost all of American troops. People do not know the difference between the helmets.

Did you read the report of the 98 year old who landed as a young Sergeant. He was very reluctant to speak about landing amongst the bodies and innoring the wounded and dying?

Chris Tarrant came across well.

  john bunyan 16:17 07 Jun 2014


People do not know the difference between the helmets.

The Commandos (Army and Royal marines) could be recognised by their green berets and no helmets! (To intimidate the enemy and you can run faster!)Even in the Falkland campaign this persisted. These days they wear helmets, mostly - some undercover guys rely on a dish - dash! One guy I knew at the Suez landings in '56 had the Crown and Lion shot off his Green beret badge - he was ok! I was with the Naval Beach Unit at Suez ..

BARV = Beach Armoured Recovery Vehicle; DUKW = Dodge Universal Karrier, Water - the memories are coming back!

  spuds 16:36 07 Jun 2014

There was a programme on Freeview Quest yesterday evening about 'Surviving D-Day' and the Omaha Beach operations. It went to show the unnecessary loss of life and how some of the survivor's remembered what happened, and how some simple unforeseen mistakes were made. No doubt about it, there were some truly brave people who were involved, and accepted that their chances of survival were very limited. Yet they still went.

Two particular examples was the loss of 27 tanks and their driver's from 29, due to the new invention of high rubber floatation aids that had been tested in calm water, but not in rough seas. Another example was the use of grappling iron techniques for scaling the cliff's. Apparently the weight of the ropes were not considered, if they became 'weighted' with sea water, and through that, they would not function. Simple things that were overlooked, but resulted in lives being lost.

  Runabout 17:11 07 Jun 2014

john bunyan

You are correct in your BARV description but I am afraid that you have fallen for a description invented by someone who did not know the real meaning of DUKW.

The correct description (created by GMC who were one of the 'inventors') is:-

D=1942 (first year of manufacture)

U=utility (amphibious)

K=all wheel drive

W=2 powered rear axles.

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