Thursday 6 June 2024

World War 2 - June 6th. 1944 - D-Day

D-Day Map

The invasion of Europe created a great amount of activity by the Allied Air Forces which were heard and seen locally as part of this massive force flew to their designated targets. The following memories probably refer to the reinforcement supply flights that took place, the main assault by airborne forces having taken place in the early hours of darkness. During the afternoon some of the 256 glider combinations used in the second assault were to be seen passing over the district. 

John Powell’s memory of that day is of hundreds of planes flying his place of employment at Burnham on D-Day 1944 all towing Horsa Gliders or Adrian (U.S.A.) gliders, a sight never to be forgotten. “Wave after wave of them all flying at very low level altitude, all heading towards France. My thoughts were of the thousands of poor souls never to return”. 

John Bye has memories of the sky filled with aircraft when he was on his way to school at Maidenhead. The planes were flying North to South, probably about 400 aircraft, with some towing gliders. This armada took about twenty minutes to pass. 

Sylvia Collier recalled ”I was at work at W.H. Smith & Son, Windsor on the morning of ‘D-Day’ when the Jewish gentleman from the public house next door rushed into the shop very excited with a radio under his arm, shouting in his guttural voice, "They landed, they landed, plug it in". Two of the assistants ran to the staff room in tears remembering how their sons had held them close on returning from their last home leave. One had a son in the army and the other a son in the navy”. 

This is an extract from Round and About Eton Wick: 1939 - 1945. The book was researched, written and published in 2001 by John Denham

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