Established 1995

 

 

 

70TH ANNIVERSARY OF

D-DAY

D-Day holds a very special memory in our hearts for it signified the launch of Wartime News just after the 50th Anniversary in 1994.  Now 20 years later, the Wartime News website is publishing a "Special Feature",  highlighting some of the vivid memories recalled by our veteran readers.

 

So watch this space as a number of special reminiscences will appear shortly on this website.

The accounts will feature such epic accounts ....  these will be their stories....

 

D-Day
Operation Overlord
6 June 1944 Over 80 and lived through WWII? Join our exclusive Twilight Club

Rather than re-create history, you will find in this brief outline, the personal accounts of some of the men involved in this action - all once readers and contributors to Wartime News.  Their stories describe the conditions of war, with many of them being in their early 20s, highly trained, and made ready for what was to become the turning point of this long war.  Such men where: Major John Shave MC, 3rd Parachute Squadron, Harry Barnsley, Royal Engineers, and Leslie A. Burt, 6th Airborne Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment.  There are many more......

This is where Wartime News began - after the 50th Anniversary in 1994

Pegasus Bridge

In the late evening of the 5th June 1944, Jimmi Stark, one of our readers, was one of the many pilots called to a briefing to make ready for the first lift of Halifax's of 298 Squadron, in a mission that would change the shape of the war.  Many gliders were made ready for take-off at Tarrant Rushton airfield in Dorset, in what was to become the turning point of the invasion of Normandy.  Crucial to the success of this mission was the readiness of Major John Howard who would lead the men of the 6th Airborne Division in Gliders. They would fly silently through the night air, to avoid detection, and land on the banks of the River Orne in Normandy to capture a main crossing that became to be known as Pegasus Bridge.  In fact, the landing was far from easy as obstacles had been laid by the enemy to avoid such an attack.

 

 

Click on the links below to a few personal accounts in Wartime News

Over the coming month and approaching 6th June 2014, Wartime News will publish other remarkable accounts from our past readers.  Sadly few now remain because most veterans would now be in their 90th years and more... Many of them showed remarkable courage and we are privileged to have know quite a few personally.

They will not be forgotten......   Limited copies of Wartime News are still available - email us for details....

 

 

 

D-Day starts here......

(Read below first)

70 years ago, Great Britain, and in particular, the south of England, became a gigantic armed camp.

Servicemen from the USA and Canada were beginning to occupy large areas of Devon, Somerset and Dorset, amongst other areas of Britain, to train for the coming invasion, which became known as Operation Overlord, on the 6th June 1944.

As Wartime News was born from the ashes of the 50th Anniversary of D-Day, and is Dorset based, we make no apologies for outlining here, some of the units and armies that integrated with the local communities.

The Special Operations Executive (SOE) arrived in Poole in late 1941, to form the small Scale Raiding Force to carry out selective hit and run raids across the Channel.  Anderson Manor was chosen as their HQ as it was remote, yet not far from Poole harbour, where their dedicated MTBs carried out ten successful operations.

Beaminster is well known for its rope making industry but units of the US 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st US Infantry Division, arrived in November 1943 and were billeted in and around the town as well as Lyme Regis and Burton Bradstock areas.  Their Regimental HQ was at Parnham House, Beaminster.

Blandford Forum is today the base for the Royal Signals and their Camp was the site of the US Army 22nd General Hospital.  The first US Army unit to arrive at the camp on 8 December 1943, was the 184 Anti-Aircraft Gun Battalion which took on the role of protecting Studland Bay beach, being used for exercises.  Nearby, Langton House was occupied by the Divisional HQ of the 1st US Infantry Division.  The 99th US Infantry Div, was also based around Blandford.  Tarrant Rushton airfield, was situated about 5 miles from Blandford on the Cranborne Chase.

Many of you will also know of Bovington, the home of today's Tank Museum, and the Royal Tank Corps, now the Royal Tank Regiment and Royal Armoured Corps. Today, the Lulworth ranges provide a battle ground for the Tank Regiment that still encompasses the abandoned village of Tyneham, which was taken over by the army during WWII and still remains so.

At the outbreak of war, a battery of 5.5 inch naval guns and searchlights was placed at the entrance of West bay near Bridport to guard the approaches to the harbour.  Many houses in that area were requisitioned

and used as billets for the troops.  A great number realistic exercises were conducted in the area in preparation for the landings.

Christchurch had been the home of the Military Engineering Establishment where the famous Bailey Bridge was designed and perfected.  Nearby, Hurn airport became the site of the Air Ministry Research Establishments Special Duty Flight.  During 1942, the first of 695 Christchurch assembled Horsa Gliders were towed off by a Whitney and in 1943, Airspeed received a contract to convert Spitfires to Seafires.

In April 1944, the 405th Fighter Group, 84th Fighter Wing of the US Ninth Tactical Airforce Command moved in with P-47D Thunderbolts which operated from RAF Christchurch until 30 June 1944, when they left for  France.   Not far from Christchurch and just a few miles North, Sopley Camp, near Bransgore, was used by the RAF for Air Control Radar from RAF Warmwell, Middle Wallop and Ibsley.  A few miles to the east was Holmsley South, home to RAF 2nd Tactical Air Force 121 Wing:174, 175, 245 Sqns, - it was a Coastal Command station when opened. It later became part of 10 Group Fighter Command in January 1944, to the USAAF 8th Air Force B24 Liberator heavy bombers in June 1944 and then reverted back to RAF 116 Wing Transport Command in October 1944.

RAF Hurn prior to D-Day became host to two Typhoon  fighter bomber wings, each of 90 aircraft, and a de- Havilland Mosquito night fighter squadron, from 85 Group.  The mass of aircraft being there to support the Normandy landings.

The town of Dorchester hosted units of the Ist US Infantry Division and were billeted in and around the town from November 1943.  Just prior to D-Day, the troops were moved into sealed camps for final briefings and orders.  Units of the 4th and 9th (US) Armoured Divisions were stationed in the area during July and September 1944.  Of course, Weymouth, was the main departure ports for the majority of these servicemen.

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