Men of D-Day


    
 Troop Carrier
Michael N. Ingrisano
Robert E. Callahan
Benjamin F. Kendig
John R. Devitt
Arthur W. Hooper
Ward Smith
Julian A. Rice
Charles E. Skidmore
Sherfey T. Randolph
Louis R. Emerson Jr.
Leonard L. Baer
Robert D. Dopita
Harvey Cohen
Zane H. Graves
John J. Prince
Henry C. Hobbs
John C. Hanscom
Charles S. Cartwright
 
 82nd Airborne
Leslie Palmer Cruise Jr.
Marie-T Lavieille
Denise Lecourtois
Howard Huebner
Malcolm D. Brannen
Thomas W. Porcella
Ray T. Burchell
Robert C. Moss
Richard R. Hill
Edward W. Shimko
 
 101st Airborne
John Nasea, Jr
David 'Buck' Rogers
Marie madeleine Poisson
Roger Lecheminant
Dale Q. Gregory
George E. Willey
Raymond Geddes
 
 Utah Beach
Joseph S. Jones
Jim McKee
Eugene D. Shales
Milton Staley
 
 Omaha Beach
Melvin B. Farrell
James R. Argo
Carl E. Bombardier
Robert M. Leach
Joseph Alexander
James Branch
John Hooper
Anthony Leone
George A. Davison
James H. Jordan
Albert J. Berard
Jewel M. Vidito
H. Smith Shumway
Louis Occelli
John H. Kellers
Harley A. Reynolds
John C. Raaen
Wesley Ross
Richard J. Ford
William C. Smith
Ralph E. Gallant
James W. Gabaree
James W. Tucker
Robert Watson
Robert R. Chapman
Robert H. Searl
Leslie Dobinson
William H. Johnson
 
 Gold Beach
George F. Weightman
Norman W. Cohen
Walter Uden
 
 Juno Beach
Leonard Smith
 
 Sword Beach
Brian Guy
 
 6th Airborne
Roger Charbonneau
Frederick Glover
Jacques Courcy
Arlette Lechevalier
Charles S. Pearson
 
 U.S.A.A.F
Harvey Jacobs
William O. Gifford
 
Civils
Philippe Bauduin
Albert Lefevre
René Etrillard
Suzanne Lesueur
 

 

  Philippe Bauduin
Caen - Calvados

On June 5th, 1944 I took the exam to receive a certificate for my studies, without any indication of the events that were about to come. The night of June 5th to June 6th didn't go real well for me, as I was worried as to whether or not I passed the exam. In the morning, we heard rumbling on the coast. I looked outside in the street a bit, and going up the Guillaume Road towards the place of the small butcher shops was a tank that was powered by bottled gas . I thought this to be quite extraordinary, and overkill, as one shot from the tank would be enough to settle anything.
At 0130 we saw the first squadron of planes arrive from the west. They had to pass over Carpiquet (near Caen), and then over our position, on the Saint Martin Road. We saw them begin to drop their bombs over Saint Etienne. The center of town (Caen) was targeted and bombed. We searched for cover inside the house, and were then subjected to a second bombing within the same day, identical to the first one.

For evening, we slept in a shelter constructed by my father out in the garden. It was not comfortable, and it was not very warm that night.

Journal of the Battle of Caen.

The first pages of this journal, which are now missing, recounted, first of all, the days that we spent in the makeshift shelter that had been constructed in the garden on Saint Manvieu Street, and then our family's stay at the Abbey of Men. After a round of artillery brought about falling stones from the structure of Saint Etienne, which led to the death of a woman, and Bishop DesHameaux began conducting an absolution for everyone, my parents then decided that it was necessary to find a safer place of refuge for all of us. Thus, we then crossed a destroyed town, passing by the Place of the Republic, in which the books from the library, which was part of the town hall, were laying outside of what was left of the structure. We then crossed Courtonne Place and had to carefully find our way in between bomb craters that had been filled with water to finally arrive at the hospital, which was in a shelter located beneath the clinic. Since June 6th, this shelter had been used by the Germans as a mobile surgical unit. The Allied forces were so close to this shelter on D-Day that the German forces hastily abandoned it, leaving some of their wounded patients in torn and damaged uniforms.

.....That is how the entire day went. It was my turn to help make soup. I made a wonderful find: 20 cigars and 8 cigarettes. Then there was the lowering of the French flag. We followed the military operations on a Michelin map.

Saturday June 17th, 1944.
We had to evacuate, but Dad was part of the civil defense, so he stayed. While carrying the kitchen dinner plates, an artillery shell exploded 50 meters from us, but we were ok. Here is the article that issued the command to evacuate:
Mayor of Caen - Leader of the Group.
You must evacuate your group on June 17th, 1944. Here are the first orders: immediate evacuation by group and by your assigned route of all able-bodied people.

Before the evening prayers, a large formation of heavy bombers passed over our heads. Many people were outside under the beautiful sun.

Sunday June 18th, 1944.
At 7:30, people were speaking in low voices. The English must not be far, as the sound of tank battle is near. The weather is nice - some fighter-bomber aircraft destroyed the German DCA (flak guns). At 8:30 p.m. the French flag was lowered.

Monday June 19th, 1944.
Bad weather, I'm bored. This did not stop the tanks from firing. I wrote a few lines at the hospital, in the area where folks pay their hospital bill.

Tuesday June 20th, 1944.
The weather was better. I was assigned to kitchen duty. Again some tanks are near. I found a hot piece of metal that came from an exploding shell. I was in the process of opening cases of tuna. We were restricted to the shelter, even though the weather was nice, on account of the artillery fire. I helped to butcher a cow during a calm moment.

Wednesday June 21st, 1944.
We started a 9-day religious ceremony. The weather is nice. I'm beginning to get board. The day was calm without battle. Our house was hit by a 75mm English artillery shell, but there wasn't much damage.

Thursday June 22nd, 1944.
Its nice out. Around 2 p.m., I went to the house whose roof was hit with an artillery shell. The house had been looted, and the doors and drawers were all open, which had been done by pry bar or gun. About 6 p.m., bombers came and bombed the blast furnaces (Caen produced steel, and had a canal by which shipping could bring in raw materials, and export finished products). Around 9:30 p.m., a barrage balloon flew over us.

Friday June 23rd, 1944.
Night was terrible. The English attacked Caen. The day was nice, but it was not possible to move about because of the artillery activity between the two warring armies. We killed a steer for butchering, and I got the two big horns. For the first time since the invasion, I saw a squadron of German aircraft.

Saturday June 24th, 1944.
It was a beautiful day. The aircraft passed over us almost all day dropping thousands of paratroopers. There was still an artillery duel going on between the two armies, but not as intense as was before. The Germans retreated to Le Mans, where there was a natural defense.

Saturday July 1st, 1944.
This was a day of bad weather. We began building a small wooden shed. Around 4 p.m. a man came and told us that the German SS was in the hospital, and that it would be necessary to evacuate if we didn't hide. The Germans fired their machineguns near to us, and we exited, but they did not come and take any of the pigs.

Sunday July 2nd, 1944.
Today, Mr. Louvet left for Paris. A car took him to Livarot for some type of work that he was called for, as he was a customs officer. About 2 o'clock in the afternoon, black crosses were seen on aircraft flying above the town. Four Spitfires then arrived and attacked. The Germans fought hard. Some machinegun fire brought down an aircraft, but I don't know whose it was. Ten minutes later, in spite of very bad weather, another battle started. A flaming aircraft was descending, but I think it straightened out.

Monday July 3rd, 1944.
The morning was unpleasant, but the afternoon agreeable. Today it is calm in the military point of view, except for some artillery fire at 9 p.m.

Tuesday July 4th, 1944.
Today the battle was solely between tanks. The English arrived at Pepinieres de Kaskoreff. The day was unpleasant. Tomorrow I'm going to participate in the service for mass, by reading liturgical responses.

Wednesday July 5th, 1944.
This morning I had to go look for coal, and I had been to Saint Louis. There, around 9:30 a.m., some aircraft came and dropped their bombs over our heads. These landed 200 meters from us and then again a series of bombs were dropped - two of these bombs fell on the hospital, of which one did not ignite. While I was yelling, the bombers were passing over our heads again. We got to know an infernal machine: a launched grenade, which sounded like a roaring lion, that knocked out the tanks.

Thursday July 6th, 1944.
On this morning, once again, the bombers bombed the bridges. One of the footbridges was destroyed, but two still remained, and they would return tomorrow to destroy the other two. I wrote by the light of an acetylene lamp that made funny noises, causing the women to look with a funny expression on their faces. Some artillery shells killed five cows in the park. We helped with a family that experienced a difficult time - it was funny. The day was excellent for the aviators. It was the most beautiful day since one month's time had passed.

Friday July 7th, 1944.
The day was very nice. Aircraft flew over us all day. I witnessed a bombing by naval forces. During evening, 450 RAF bombers bombed the town with 2200 tons of bombs. The town was a burning inferno. Since the beginning of the hostilities, the English had dropped 5000 tons of bombs.

Saturday July 8th, 1944.
The Battle for Caen has begun. The kitchen received a volley of artillery. The midday meal made us skinny. In the afternoon, throwing grenades were utilized in action, and they passed over our heads. The evening was terrible. We were hit with scattered shells fired by Navy ships. The closest hit and exploded just 150 meters from us. The night was very nice.

Sunday July 9th, 1944.
This morning the English were 500 meters from us. We heard the machineguns. At 11:00 a.m., the English (or moreso the Scottish) arrived at the hospital. They were warmly welcomed. I had my photo taken with a lieutenant. They were numerous in the shelter. The odor of tobacco was prevalent at head level. Chocolate was distributed. We heard the departure of the English artillery batteries. The youngest amongst them was 19 years old.

Monday July 10th, 1944.
Nothing to report. I'm in the kitchen with the English. About 5:30, five artillery shells landed on the ambulances. One English soldier and two Frenchmen were killed, and two Frenchmen were wounded.

Tuesday July 11th, 1944.
The day was beautiful. I spoke with some English soldiers when, simultaneously, six German aircraft flew over us. We headed for shelter. They passed over all day, but six were destroyed. I went to bed early.

Wednesday July 12th, 1944.
We received artillery fire. The English left. I got the address of the lieutenant with whom I was photographed. The Canadians arrived, and they spoke French.

Thursday July 13th, 1944.
We were obliged to remain there for the whole day, because of artillery activity. The day was beautiful. For the evening, we prepared a social activity to be held on July 14th.

Friday July 14th, 1944.
For the afternoon, there was a session of which the programs were:
New Grammar, At The Café, With The Friendly Soldier, A Serenade, History of the Navy, The Man Phenomena, The Confession of a Lawyer/Notary, The Police are without Mercy, The Absent Minded Doctor, and Crocheting.
This evening I celebrate Saint Henri, who has the same first name as my Dad.

Saturday July 15th, 1944.
Today, my cousins, Michel and Marie-Therese, are going out into the country. I'm depressed, and would like to go away too, spoke of my feelings, but did not go because of falling artillery shells, and thus remained in the shelter and wrote in my journal. One shell landed on the front of the shelter.

Sunday July 16th, 1944.
The night was terrible - an artillery shell once again landed on the building - never two without a third - watch that third one! We had to spend all the next day in the shelter. The day was beautiful. I would like, perhaps tomorrow, to go out into the country.

Monday July 17th, 1944.
The third artillery shell arrived this morning. I found the rockets. The news was confirmed: I'm going this afternoon. The Canadians tracked down the spies that were assisting the Germans by directing their artillery fire. I discovered a 105mm shell across from us.

To my parents..
To my uncle..

Philippe Bauduin

Translation from French by Thad J. Russell