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
 

 

Frederick Glover
Private, A Coy. 9th Battalion Parachute Regiment. 6th Airborne.

Then following is my recollection of events just prior to and immediately following my landing on `D` Day June 6th 1944. The thoughts and occurrences reffered to reflect my personal experiences and are as accurate as I am able to recall..........

It is 12.30 am June 6th 1944 and I, together with my comrades am sitting beside the runway at Harwell, the airfield from which we shall take off for Normandy. Our role is to, upon seeing a signal from the ground, to crashland by glider onto the casements of a gun battery and support the remainder of the unit who will launch an assault from outside the perimeter wire.

As I wait my thoughts go back to the day when A Coy were asked to provide volunteers for a special mission. There were no specific details but every man stepped forward; it was decided that, as far as possible, only those that were unmarried would be selected. We would be led by Capt Gordon- Brown and referred to as the G.B.Force.
A very accurate model of the battery was used at each briefing session and a replica built on a site at Westwood Hay. Rehearsals were carried out by day and night until we were familiar with all aspects as regards the layout of the defensive capability of the objective.
The next move is into a secure transit camp and it is now that we learn of the precise location of the objective Merville! Everyone waits for the order to go but there is a delay of 24 hours and we once more check weapons and equipment; play cards and as far as is possible in the circumstaces,try to relax. Morale was high, we were led by first class officers and confident in ourselves. My main concern was to play my full part, do well and not let down my comrades or the Regiment. At last the waiting is over; trucks carry us to the airstrip and now we have only to wait....

My mind has been recounting the events of the last few weeks but am brought back to reality by a flurry of activity as the order to emplane is given. I struggle to my feet and stand in line; It is the strangest feeling, as though I am a participant in what is happening but also an observer. I climbed aboard and take my seat at the rear end of the glider, getting as comfortable as possible despite the bulk of equipment and weapon. Although never mentioned, we know that our arrival will not be a total surprise to the enemy; air drops will have already taken place and no doubt they will be on high alert. The timing of the assault was crucial as to go in any earlier may have indicated a landing on what was to become known as Sword beach; bearing in mind the location of the battery.

My mind becomes active again as I try to recall the layout of the target; where were those M.G. positions? and what about the flack gun? would we crash land as intended between the casements. The engines of the tug aircraft roar as they taxi down the runway; there is a jerk as the towrope slack is taken up and we become airborne. In a very short time we shall be transported from the peace of the English countryside into the heat of battle. As the flight progresses, there are attempts at humour and someone tries to start a sing-song but very soon it lapses into silence except for the odd sound that a glider makes in flight; we are all thinking our own thoughts. For myself I am mentally checking weapons; grenades primed? magazines loaded? fighting knife readily to hand? will it come to that?.

Someone shouts that we have crossed the coast; thankfully there is no flack near us and we proceed without incident. Like all others I am sure my main hope is that I shall prove equal to the task, support my comrades and uphold the honour of the regiment.

The movement of the Horsa slows followed by the curious swishing sound of a glider in free flight; we are over the target. As we start our descent there is ack ack fire hitting the fuselage and there are flashes and sounds as though someone is trying to smash down a wooden door. I feel a sharp pain in my left leg and almost immediately a blow to my right thigh as the shrapnel finds me. A number of others are also wounded but we still expect to come down on target. There are shouts for us to brace ourselves for a crash landing. Due to the fiasco of the drop of the battalion and the loss of most of the equipment, there were no flares to indicate to the glider pilot that our comrades were in position. In the event we came down in the edge of an orchard just beside the path leading to the battery. The Horsa disintegrated and I tumbled out into a ditch running beside the path. A fire fight started at once and shouts in German could be heard. It is discovered that the enemy was moving to reinforce the battery and it was some consolation that although we had not actually landed inside the objective, a useful contribution to the action had been made.

When the shooting subsided my wounds were examined and it was found that shrapnel had passed through my left leg but a piece was lodged in my right thigh and it would need surgery to remove it. After the action, the battalion had to move on to the next rendezvous; I tried to keep up but fell farther and farther behind. I was overtaken by a group led by Capt Gordon-Brown; it was decided that I should stay put with two wounded Germans and wait for the arrival of our troops advancing from the beach.

Some hours passed and during this time I administered morphine to one of the Germans an act which, I think was fortunate in view of what followed. During the late afternoon, a medic found us and set about re-dressing our wounds; as this was taking place an enemy patrol was seen crossing the field and moving in our direction. There was nothing could be done but wait as they approached other than dismantle my Sten gun and smash the firing pin. Unfortunately I had overlooked the fighting knife and a Gammon bomb into which I had inserted some 9mm rounds for added effect. When these items were found there was a lot of ugly murmuring as they handled them. At this stage the least wounded of the Germans pointed to his comrade and the marking showing the time that the morphine was injected. The atmosphere changed dramatically and I was placed on a stretcher, into an ambulance and taken to a field hospital. Something that I had not considered for one moment had happened, I was a P.O.W.!

After a number of moves to various locations I arrived at the Hopital de la Pitie in Paris. As the Allies were advancing the Germans began shipping the wounded away and it was imperative to try and avoid this happening or it would mean a prison camp for the remainder of the war. Fortunately the guards, not wishing to become prisoners themselves, became lax and so with the aid of French nursing staff at great risk to themselves I and others by various means were able to evade the sentries and were sheltered by the Resistance. After the liberation of the city I was flown to England and after weeks in a military hospital rejoined my unit during the latter part of October.

Frederick Glover     (27 October 2001)