National Archives catalogue number WO 171/1234.

 

Abbreviation

1902

A/C

ADS

Amb

APO

A/Tk

Bde

BHQ

Bn

Bty

Cdn

Comdr
CRA

CRE

Det

Div
DZ

EA

ETA

Fd

FDS

Fl

GPR

HE

Hvy

i/c

ILC

IO

Junc

LCI

LMG

LZ

Mag

MDS

MG

MO

MT

OC

Oxf Bucks

Pdr

Pl

RA

RAP

Rd

RE

Regt

RV
SA

Sec

SP

Sqn

SS

TLC

u/c

u/s

Wef

Map Reference

Aircraft

Advanced Dressing Station

Ambulance

Army Post Office

Anti-Tank

Brigade

Battery Headquarters

Battalion

Battery

Canadian

Commander

Commander Royal Artillery

Commander Royal Engineers

Detachment

Divisional

Drop Zone

Enemy Aircraft

Estimate Time of Arrival

Field

Field Dressing Station

Flight

Glider Pilot Regiment

High Explosive

Heavy

In-command

Infantry Landing Craft

Intelligence Officer

Junction

Landing Craft Infantry

Light Machine Gun

Landing Zone

Magazine

Main Dressing Station

Machine Gun

Medical Officer

Motor Transport

Officer Commanding

Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry

Pounder

Platoon

Royal Artillery

Regimental Aid Post

Road

Royal Engineers

Regiment

Rendezvous

Small Arms

Section

Self-Propelled

Squadron

Special Service

Troop / Tank Landing Craft

Undercarriage

Unserviceable

With-Effect

 

 

Month and year : May / June 1944

Commanding Officer : Lt.Col. I.A. Murray

 

30th May 1944

Place: Base

 

'NEPTUNE' Operation No.1 by Officer Commanding No.1 Wing The Glider Pilot Regiment, and Photograph.  Appendix "A".  No.1 Wing The Glider Pilot Regiment Administrative Order No.1.  Appendix "B".

 

3rd June 1944

Administrative Instructions for 'FORCE IAN' whilst in the Field.  Appendix "C".

 

2nd June 1944

Operation Order No.1 by Major J.P. Royle, Commanding 'FORCE JOHN'.  Appendix "D".

 

12th June 1944

Report on Operation 'OVERLORD' by Officer Commanding No.1 Wing G.P.R.  Appendix "E".

 

20th June 1944

Report on "Battery Mission" on Operation 'TONGA', by O.C. "B" Squadron.  Appendix "F".  Operation 'TONGA' Report on "COUP DE MAIN" - O.C. "B" Squadron.  Appendix "G".  Account on Operation 'NEPTUNE' - "B" Squadron.  Appendix "H".

 

7th June 1944

Report on Operations 'TONGA' & 'MALLARD' - "A" Squadron.  Appendix "J".  Report on Operation 'TONGA' - "D" Squadron.  Appendix "K".  Report on Operation 'MALLARD' by Capt. J.A. Morrison, "D" Squadron.  Appendix "L".

 

16th June 1944

Report on Operation from No.23 Flight & No.10 Flight - "G" Squadron.  Appendix "M".  Crews taking part in Operation 'NEPTUNE'.  Appendix "N".

 

28th June 1944

Training Order.  Appendix "O".

 

23rd June 1944

Place: Base

 

Capt. Leschallas 53754 is granted the local rank of Major w.e.f. 30 Apr 44.  Lieut. F.L. Futter 26166 is appointed Squadron Adjutant 'B' Squadron vice Lieut. G.E. Stilton 156218 w.e.f. 4 Jun 44.  Lieut. N. Baxter 172126 is appointed Squadron Adjutant 'D' Squadron vice Lieut. K.E. Strathern 99754 w.e.f. 4 Jun 44.  Lieut. G.E. Stilton is appointed Squadron I.O. 'B' Squadron vice Lieut. D.G. Anderson 123868 w.e.f. 21 Jun 44.  Major E.H. Leschallas 53754 is appointed to Command No.25 Flight w.e.f. 1 May 44.

 

6th June 1944

Operation 'NEPTUNE' see attached Appendices.

 

8th June 1944

All crews not taking part in Operation 'NEPTUNE' ordered to stand by for next operation.

 

 

Appendix "E"

 

Subject:- Report on Operation "Overlord"

To:  Commander Glider Pilots,

       HQ Airborne Troops (Rear),

       A.P.O. England

 

I enclose a report by Major J.P. Royle on his part of the Operation while commanding Force "JOHN".

 

Although I landed at the same time I did not take over command until the landing on the following day. Until Major Royle arrived at 0930 hrs. "D" Day Major S.C. Griffith took over command of Force "JOHN".

 

At midday on "D" Day I visited HQ 6th. Airborne Division to find out the general situation. The picture was somewhat obscure and I therefore decided to contact HQ 5th Para Bde near the Bridges over the River ORNE 1902. This Area was held by 5th Para Bde and apart from sniping appeared clear of the enemy. It also appeared that L.Z. "W" was clear of enemy troops although some opposition was being encountered SOUTH WEST of this Area.

 

I returned to HQ 5th Para Bde and got in touch with Div. HQ. I informed them that I considered Operation "MALLARD" could be carried out on L.Z. "W" without undue risk.

 

I then returned to L.Z. "N". After the landing I went to RV IAN and contacted Captain Barrie who had taken up a defensive position with all Glider Pilots who had landed at L.Z. "W".

 

On the morning of the 7th June the Liaison Officer reported that 101 Beach Sub-Area had given permission to disembark all Glider Pilots. I immediately passed this information to Force "JOHN" who received permission from 6th Airborne Division to withdraw to the beaches.

 

The withdrawal was carried out without incident and disembarkation was completed by 1200 hrs.

 

The following comments are forwarded for consideration:-

 

(1) The white stripes on gliders were of great value for picking out gliders already landed. If these markings are dispensed with in future something of the same nature on upper surfaces of wings is most desirable.

 

(2) The green hollophane lights were excellent but the red air sea rescue lights were not seen by all pilots.

 

(3) Differential brakes are essential when landing on L.Zs. which have posts erected.

 

From experience of this operation the following changes of equipment are suggested:-

(i) 2 trained snipers per section with snipers rifles fitted with telescopic sights.

(ii) Rucksacks in place of present web equipment.

(iii) Torches are not needed in operations as each glider has one as part of its equipment.

(iv) One jeep is required for Wing HQ if the Glider Pilot force is in more than one locality.

(v) In the place of T.S.M. guns it is suggested that each section should have two Mark V Sten guns.

 

With the exception of the above, the equipment was most satisfactory. The morale of the men was very high, especially those forming part of gun crews.

 

(Signed) I.A. Murray. Lieut-Colonel,

Commanding No.1 Wing The Glider Pilot Regiment.

A.P.O. England.

12 June 44.

 

 

Appendix "E"

 

REPORT ON OPERATION "OVERLORD"

BY MAJOR J.P. ROYLE, 1 Wing, GLIDER PILOT REGIMENT.

COMMANDING "FORCE JOHN"

 

The leading elements of "Force John" were due to land on L.Z. "N", 1 mile EAST of the Bridges over the R. ORNE, at 0320 hours on 6th. June 1944.

 

Due to cloud (700 ft. to 2000 ft. approx) and flak, my tow rope broke over the coast at 0323 hours at LES PANORAMAS 1979, and Glider No. 71 forced landed in a minefield 4 miles EAST of L.Z. "N" 165746. Both crew and passengers were unhurt, except for Lieut-Colonel Bray who suffered slight concussion, but the Glider was badly damaged, with the nose-wheel broken, perspex and underneath of fuselage smashed, and back broken at tail unload joint. It was decided to leave the jeep, trailer and motor-cycle, owing to the difficulties involving the unloading, and close proximity of enemy troops (there was a flak battery mile away, and small arms fire and shelling close at hand). Succeeded in cutting German telephone wires with port wing before landing!

 

The party, consisting of Lieut-Colonel Bray, Lieut. Smith, a colour-sergeant, five other ranks of Div. HQ and myself, then proceeded to move across country towards L.Z. "N". There were several "brushes" with enemy troops and snipers, but no casualties were caused. Lieut-Colonel Bray was injured falling off a wall! Several parties of 9 Para Bn., Canadian Para Bn., and 224 Para Fd. Amb were met on the way.

 

I found Lieut. Dodwell and 4 Glider Pilots near le MESNIL 1372 and I took them on to RV "JOHN", arriving at approximately 0930 hours.

 

There were 53 men in RV "JOHN" under command Major S.C. Griffith, and the Remainder of the first take-off were missing. I assumed command of "Force John".

 

Casualties reported were three killed on landing.

 

Events after I assumed command were as follows (some times approximate):-

 

June 6th

0945 hrs. - Contacted 13 Para Bn., who requested "Force John" to defend WEST and SOUTH-WEST area of X Roads [Crossroads]. Intermittent sniping.

 

1000 hrs. - Reported 6 Airborne Div. HQ - ordered to contact 12 Para Bn., Platoon in Area 107730 SOUTH of RANVILLE, and report all information to Div HQ.

 

1015 hrs. - Breakfast for all.

 

1025 hrs. - Three men wounded, one fatally, by burst of fire from SOUTH - cause unknown, but suspected snipers with 9mm sub-machine gun.

 

1040 hrs. - Took Patrol of 5 men Area RANVILLE - SOUTH to 107730 and searched Houses 113732 and 112734 for snipers with negative results. Embarrassing but hearty reception from French females! Contacted 12 Para Bn., and informed them of defensive positions, fire plan, etc. They were somewhat relieved that we were there, as they were then expecting counter attack.

 

Decided Area Bridge 111732 and adjacent buildings, and Road junction 112733 were dangerous unwatched, as possible lines of infiltration particularly by night. Ordered Major Griffith to establish standing patrols each of 10 men, at each of these points, to remain until further orders.

 

1330 hrs. - Mortar sniping on L.Z., but no further activity. Proceeded to RV "PETER" 123745, via L.Z. to recce. There contacted 2/Lt. Taylorson (2 Wing) and 2 S/Sgts, and gave them orders as to action after 2100 hrs landing. Left 2 S/Sgts to assist, and to bring 20 pilots to RV "JOHN" as reinforcement after 2100 hours landing.

 

1530 hrs. - 2 snipers captured on L.Z. "N" 116737 by patrol of 13 Para Bn. These snipers had been troublesome and it was a relief when they were captured.

 

2100 hrs. - Glider landing commenced. Fairly heavy shelling of L.Z. "N", but most shells dropping short into RANVILLE. Possible that enemy had not direct observation L.Z. as there were few casualties visible, and shells continued to drop short.

 

2240 hrs. - Reported Div. HQ that "Force John" in position and dug-in. Ordered to contact Brig. Lord Lovat HQ at la POSTE 1175.

 

June 7th

0015 hrs. - Reports to S.S. Commando H.Q., informed Brig. Lord Lovat that would not withdraw from RV "PETER" until 0900 hrs. 7 June, 1 Platoon, 6 Commando to take over.

 

0105 hrs. - Contacted Major Jackson, RV "PETER" - all quiet, except for intermittent fire and sniping - Area AMFREVILLE. Inspected defences.

 

0205 hrs. - Returned RV "JOHN" - all quiet.

 

0545 hrs. - Reported to Div. HQ. Informed unlikely to move out until Beaches clear.

 

0615 hrs. - Lieut. Corrie reported from Lieut-Colonel Murray, ordered to proceed to RV COLLEVILLE SUR ORNE 0878, as LCI's ready 1000 hrs.

 

0625 hrs. - Informed 6 Airborne Div. - given permission to proceed with "Force John" to Beaches. Informed Brig. Lord Lovat that we wished to withdraw from RV "PETER"; permission given and asked to hand over two Brens and 20 mags and ammunition to 6 Commando.

 

0650 hrs. - Ordered "Force Peter" to move immediately to clear Start line and Control Point by 0815 hrs established Rd. junc 107744. Route: Bridge - BENOUVILLE - ST. AUBIN D'ARQUENAY. Returned RV "JOHN".

 

0715 hrs. - Ordered Force under command Major S.C. Griffith to move, crossing bridge 0855 hrs. Informed 12 Devons and 13 Para.

 

0903 hrs. - Reported 6 Airborne Div. all "Force John" clear of Bridges, proceeding to Beachhead.

 

GENERAL

 

The morale and conduct of the men was excellent at all times. Movement and battle drill was fast and efficient. Digging-in was completed well on time.

 

It is suggested that one of the best roles for Glider Pilots on the ground is neutralizing or destroying snipers, who, in this operation, were a constant source of irritation. The best method of dealing with snipers is by means of snipers. It is therefore suggested that each section has two trained snipers with sniper's rifles and telescopic sights, and two extra men with Mk. V. Stens instead of rifles. I have already spoken to Major Harding about this.

 

TIME OF SIGNATURE 1020 hrs

A.P.O. ENGLAND,

10 Jun 44.

J.P Royle, Major, No.1 Wing Glider Pilot Regiment.

 

 

Appendix "F"

 

Subject:- Report on Operations.

To:- O.C. 1 Wing. The Glider Pilot Regiment

 

I enclose herewith as requested the report on the mission on Operation 'TONGA'.

 

1) COMPOSITION.

Three Horsa/Albemarle combinations from 297 Squadron, RAF.

Glider.

No.

Rank.

Name.

Sqn.

Chalk No.

Crew No.

Remarks

Tug Pilot

3387884

S/Sgt

Kerr D.

'B'

27

132

Landed 50 yds from Perimeter.

F/Lt. Thompson

937301

Sgt

Walker H.

'B'

 

 

 

 

2162088

S/Sgt

Bone S.

'B'

28

134

Landed 200 yds from Perimeter.

F/O Garnett

941827

Sgt

Dean L.

'B'

 

 

 

 

1916518

S/Sgt

Baldwin A.

'B'

28A

196

Forced landed at Odiham.

F/Sgt. Richards

5255333

Sgt

Michie J.

'B'

 

 

 

 

 

2) TASK.

        To land a special force of 9th. Parachute Bn and R.E.'s inside the perimeter defences of the 4 Gun Coastal Battery at 155776. at the same time as the attack by the remainder of the 9th. Para Bn from outside.  The Battery having previously been bombed by a force of 100 Lancasters with 4000lb. bombs.

        The destruction of this Battery is of paramount importance to the successful landing of seaborne forces.

        Gliders were to be released at 5000 ft. over the coast, and individually navigated to the Battery position, and to make a crash landing inside the defences.  Gliders were fitted with Rebecca Mk.111 and special arrester parachutes, Eureka and Hollophane 'T' were to be set out approx. 500 yds. South of the Battery, and flares were to be fired by 3" Mortars to illuminate the area.

 

EXECUTION

No.27

        Combination ran into very unfavourable conditions shortly after take-off.  Pilot made use of C.A.I. but conditions were extremely bumpy.  Near Odiham they ran into a very violent Cu.Ni. cloud with heavy rain.  Near the French coast more cloud was encountered and height was reduced to 1000 ft. which was [cloudless?].  As it was not possible to carry out the remote release at 5000 ft. the Tug Pilot (F/Lieut. Thompson) flew on to the battery position.  It was extremely difficult to [locate?] owing to the darkness (moon obscured by cloud), the damage caused to the Battery, and surrounding country by the Lancasters, no Eureka signals were received (it was later found that the Eureka had not been set up) and no lights or flares were sent up.

        The Tug Pilot switched on his lights in order to assist the Glider Pilot and made no less than six runs over the Battery area flashing his recognition light (as agreed with the 9th. Para Bn on the ground) in spite of heavy concentrations of flak which hit both Tug and Glider, until he was certain that the Glider could make a successful release.  A triangle of lights eventually appeared on the ground and flashing Red 'A' which was a pre-arranged signal from the 9th. Para Bn to the Gliders and S/Sgt. Kerr released and made his landing in an orchard approx 50 yds. to the [East?] of the Battery, whole position was very indistinct.  The pilot shot through the front of the Glider into a crater about 20 ft in front of him.  It was apparent that the attack on the Battery had already started.  Lieut. Pond and the troops in the Glider engaged an enemy M.G. and joined in the fight in the Battery until shortly the success signal was seen.  4 of the crew of the Glider were hit by Flak before landing.  Pilot used his arrester parachute which appeared to catch in a tree and preventing him making the further 50 yds into the position.  Pilots remained with their troops, and after the Battery had been destroyed, went through Merville across D.Z. to Amfreville which was held by enemy (1000 hrs. D.Day) - 5 hours later No.6 Commando arrived with Piats, Hvy M.G.s and 3" mortars and dislodged the enemy.  Lieut. Pond then told pilots they were no longer required, but instructed them they had to take 21 prisoners back to Div. H.Q. at Ranville which they did by 1800 hrs. collected 4 more prisoners en route, including 1 officer.  Having delivered the prisoners, Pilots decided to remain in Div H.Q. area for night, and set off 0600 hrs D + 1 for beach.  Met Sgt. Doyle, S/Sgt. Pearson and Guthrie from the bridges and saw Major Royle on the Beach, embarked in T.L.C. and landed at Newhaven.

 

No.28

        Combination ran into very bad flying conditions C.A.I. was not working well and Tug Pilot did his best avoid cloud.  Owing to severe bumpiness the special arrester parachute came out over the channel causing severe jerking, and practically stalling the combination.  Sgt. Dean released the parachute and the Tug Pilot was able to regain flying speed.  Combination reached the French coast at 1000 ft. (cloud base) and in view of this Tug took Glider on to Battery to make sure of pin pointing position.  There were no aids at all, neither the flashing light, not the triangle of lights which S/Sgt. Kerr had when he landed a few minutes later.  The Tug Pilot encircled the position 4 times with his lights on, and was hit by Flak several times.  Glider released and landed approx 200 yds to the West of the Battery which was almost unrecognisable.  The Glider was carrying Capt. Brown who was i/c the party.  The troops advanced towards the Battery but were met with M.G. fire and ran into a German patrol, whilst dealing with these the success signal went up from the battery - later another enemy patrol was captured.  By 1900 hrs. D Day rejoined 9th. Para Bn H.Q. South of Le Plein.  S/Sgt. Bone and Sgt. Dean were detailed to go out with a Canadian patrol to Ranville to find and deal with 2 German tanks which were firing of L.Z. 'N'.  At 2300 hrs. German Tanks moved off.

        On return, O.C. 9th. Para Bn told pilots they were no longer required, but to escort 2 prisoners to Div H.Q. which they did.  At Div H.Q. S/Sgt. Bone was detailed to accompany some Press Officers and R.A.F. to the Beach 1130 - 1200 hrs.  There they met Capt. Smellie and his party embarked and landed at Newhaven at 0830 D + 2.

 

No.28A

        This combination also ran into very bad weather shortly after take off and in particular a very violent Cu.Ni. cloud and torrential rain over Odiham.  S/Sgt Baldwin and the Tug Pilot did all in their power to keep the combination together but just as they were emerging from the cloud the rope broke and S/Sgt. Baldwin made a successful forced landing at Odiham without the help of A.S.I. or altimeter owing to the Pitot head having been removed by the rope.  So violent had been the movement in the cloud that the rope had cut into the main plane which was found to be severely damaged.

 

EVACUATION.

        Both crews landed at Newhaven and were taken by truck to Fargo.

 

CONCLUSION.

        Almost everything went wrong that could be imagined but inspite of this one Glider of the three landed sufficiently close to the objective to influence [?].

1) The Cloud conditions did not allow a remote release and obscured the moon.

2) Recognition of the battery was extremely difficult owing to the severe bombing.

3) Owing to the 9th. Para Bn having been dropped away from their D.Z. they had no mortars - hence no flares.  The Eureka did not arrive until too late, and was [somewhat?] damaged.  The lights for the 'T' did not arrive until almost too late.

4) One parachute streamed' in flight and was lost.

        I consider that both Tug Pilots (F/Lt. Thompson and F/O Garnett) showed great determined in remaining in the target area under fire, with a Glider on tow, and with lights burning for a considerable time.  Also that both Glider Pilots showed great courage in 'hanging on' in spite of being hit by Flak until they were able to pin point their position, and land on ground which was covered with craters, and swept by fire.

        There is no doubt that S/Sgt. Kerr's Glider although not landing inside the Battery did assist to a great extent in silencing the remaining three guns which had not been destroyed by the bombing.

        All three pilots showed great determination in 'hanging on' in cloud during the flight which the Tug Pilots reported as the worst possible conditions.  After landing both S/Sgt. Kerr and S/Sgt. Bone and their second pilots showed great courage and initiative while fighting with the troops they had carried.

 

[Signed T.I.J. Toler]

Major.

Commanding 'B' Squadron, No.1 Wing, The Glider Pilot Regiment.

R.A.F. Station,

Brize Norton,

20. June. 44.

MAGM.

 

 

Appendix "G"

 

Subject:- Report on Operations.

To:- Officer Commanding, 1 Wing, The Glider Pilot Regiment.

 

Operation "TONGA" - "COUP DE MAIN"

 

1.  Composition

6 Horsa/Halifax combinations from No.298 Squadron, Tarrant Rushton.

No.

Rank.

Name.

Sqn.

Chalk No.

Crew No.

Remarks

903986

S/Sgt

Wallwork J.

 

91

 

Wounded

81376

S/Sgt

Ainsworth J.

 

 

 

Wounded

6877785

S/Sgt

Hobbs P.

'E'

92

 

Wounded

1449953

S/Sgt

Boland O.

'E'

 

 

Brize Norton.

2582663

S/Sgt

Barkway G.

'B'

93

191

Wounded

4983193

Sgt

Boyle P.

'B'

 

 

Brize Norton.

7584739

S/Sgt

Lawrence A.

'B'

94

190

Brize Norton.

1876535

S/Sgt

Shorter H.

'B'

 

 

Brize Norton.

7895376

S/Sgt

Pearson S.

'F'

95

 

Brize Norton.

4749793

S/Sgt

Guthrie L.

'F'

 

 

Brize Norton.

14200103

S/Sgt

Howard R.

'B'

96

141

Brize Norton.

2120531

S/Sgt

Baacke F.

'B'

 

 

Brize Norton.

 

2.  Task

        To land 6 gliders in two fields adjacent to the bridges over the R ORNE and CANAL DE CAEN secretly to achieve surprise and capture the bridges intact.  Release to be from a point on the coast (approx 1779) at 6000 ft A.G.L.  Gliders to be individually navigated Nos.91-93 to land in field "X" from S - N and Nos.94-96 land in field "Y" from N - S.  Gliders to land as close to the bridges as practicable.  Personnel and Equipment of 2 Oxf Bucks and Royal Engineers were carried.

        Tug a/c after release to carry out diversionary bombing to distract attention from the gliders.

 

3.  Execution

 

No.91.  Both Wallwork and Ainsworth are still in Hospital so it is not possible to interrogate them.  From the other crews account Glider 91 landed correctly right at the top of the apex of the triangular field ("X) close to the bridges.  It ran into barbed wire and mud and cockpit was smashed.  Ainsworth had twisted knee and Wallwork had a severe blow and cut on the head which made him dazed but conscious.  They were both helped by the other pilots to the R.A.P. and to the A.D.S. at 6 Div HQ.  Wallwork was seen on the beach by Pearson and Guthrie on D + 1 but not Ainsworth.

 

No.92.  Pilot reported Glider overloaded.  The pilot skilfully avoided cloud.  Released at correct position at 4800 ft.  Glider flew on course until prominent feature CANAL DE CAEN (0771) was seen, turned to starboard and flew by D/R.  L.Z. "X" was not seen until 200 ft.  Glider landed behind No.91, but cockpit was also smashed [? and] Hobbs was cut about the legs, which he did not realise until 2 - 3 hrs later when he was taken to the A.D.S.

        Parachute was streamed but Glider was going too slowly for it to be effective.

        After landing assist Pl of Oxf Bucks - Lieut Wood and Capt Neilson [?] - Pearson and Hobbs assisted Ainsworth, Wallwork and Barkway to R.A.P. and later [on?] he was dressed there as well (He put up a very good show assisting the others before availing himself of treatment).

        A Sgt of Oxf Bucks engaged an enemy tank (French Type) with a PIAT at [?] yds range) and destroyed it with one shot.  Pearson reported to Major Howard and acted as runner during D Day.  At 2230 hrs he was told he could make his way to the Beaches which he did next morning; reported to the Beachmaster, showing his pink slip and was put on a T.C.C. and landed at Portsmouth on D+2.

 

No.93.  Combination went into could several times at approx 4000 ft.  Saw Estuary 3 miles away and released at correct point at 5800 ft.  Turned onto course and went into cloud for 2 mins 15 secs.  Saw bridges momentarily, but they then disappeared behind wispy cloud.  A German flare then went up and illuminated them clearly.  Speed was high owing to overloading (90 - 100 mph).  Did not use parachute.  Landed O.K. in L.Z. "X" but hit bank and cockpit was smashed off.  Barkway was thrown out unhurt and Boyle remained in the wreckage also unhurt.  One passenger was killed, M.O. badly concussed and Lieut Smith cut head.

        Barkway assisted Boyle to get out by cutting off his equipment which was lost.  Boyle then went onto the bridge with PIATs and Grenades from Glider where he heard Barkway call him and found he had been hit - his right arm above the wrist being almost severed.  He appeared very cheerful and putting him - on a stretcher he was assisted to the R.A.P. by Hobbs and Boyle and later (0930 hrs) taken to the A.D.S. 6 Div on a lorry.  In the morning D Day he was very weak.

        Boyle went back to the glider to endeavour to get out other equipment that was required and helped in dislodging an enemy post on the West side of the Canal bridge on D day.

        Spent the night in position round the bridges and on morning of D+1 proceeded to beach with Guthrie, Pearson, Kerr, Walker which was reached at 1030 hrs.  [Met?] Major Royle and was put on an T.L.C.

 

No.94.  Flew at 5000 - 5500 ft.  Encountered cloud 3 times.  Flew in hightow and used yoke to keep position.  Tug brought them to wrong position (Mistaking R DIVES for the ORNE estuary) released approx 270820 and landed on bridge 218761 on R DIVES - did not use parachute.  Carried No.2 Pl Capt Preedy and Lt Hooper Oxf Bucks.  S/Sgt Lawrence and S/Sgt Shorter went to a farmhouse to recce.  Shorter was sent back to [?] the Pl.  Meanwhile Lt Hooper was captured and marched up the road with two [guards?].  Shorter, Lawrence and Capt Preedy lay in wait and shot the captors [freeing?] Lt Hooper.

        The party walked to a farmhouse 205775 and later met some paratroops ([Cdn?] and British) at BRICQUEVILLE.  Crossed river to the East, moved South, and crossed again near BASSENVILLE, through the BOIS de BAVENT and up to RANVILLE [?] had seen the Gliders landing on D Day.  After getting to RANVILLE.  Slept and on morning of D+1 proceeded to beach, met Lieut Powell and his party [embarked?] on I.L.O.

 

No.95.  Flew at 4500 ft.  Ran into cloud about 10 mins before reaching French Coast, [cloud?] fell 4 miles East of release point by R DIVES.  Turned to Starboard and [?] approx 1 mile S.W. of CABOURG.  Saw R ORNE and Canal and headed for bend [?] through height to reach correct place in L.Z. "Y" so landed short [? ?] bridge.  Howard in No.96 had already landed.  Used parachute [? ?] be effective.

        Lt Sweeney and his Pl went for the bridge, but found it was already taken.  Major Howard instructed pilots to assist in unloading gliders on L.Z. "X".

        Stayed by bridges all day.  Dug in on East side of bridge and slept the night.  Met S/Sgt Kerr and Sgt Walker from the "battery".

        On the morning of D+1 moved to the beach individually and arrived there at 1100 hrs.  Joined up with other Glider Pilots on I.L.C.

 

No.96.  Flew 5000 - 6000 ft.  Released at 5700 ft at correct point above broken cloud.  Landed in correct place in L.Z. "Y" close by bridge with broken nose wheel.  Field was full of cows.

        Lt Fose and his Pl attacked the bridge and took it with little opposition.  Howard and Baacke assisted in unloading of gliders, helping casualties to R.A.P.  A sniper was covering the road between the bridges for most of D day and was very difficult to dislodge.  Eventually burnt out.

        Started for beach about 2300 hrs D day - lay up the night enroute and went on to beach in morning.  Contacted Beachmaster, later saw Lt/Col Murray and went aboard I.L.C.

        During the approach could not get speed below 90 m.p.h. - sent two men into back of glider and speed was O.K. at 80.  Used parachute but speed was too slow to make it effective.

 

EVACUATION.

        All unwounded pilots except S/Sgt Pearson landed at Newhaven and were taken by truck to Fargo.

        Pearson landed at Portsmouth alone - reported to Essex Regt Depot when he was given a bath and railway warrant and returned to Tarrant Rushton from whence he was sent to Fargo by truck.

 

CONCLUSION.

1.  Of the 6 gliders only one landed completely away from the L.Z. owing to being released at the wrong point.  Of the remaining five, three landed correctly on L.Z. "X" but were severely damaged by barbed wire and obstructions.  One landed correctly on L.Z. "Y" up by the bridge without damage and avoiding obstructions.  One landed short on L.Z. "Y" but could have carried out the mission.  I feel that S/Sgt Wallwork, Hobbs, Barkway, and Howard put up an excellent show from a flying point of view in navigating their gliders under most difficult conditions and attaining their object in spite of obstructions and very heavily loaded gliders.  From a military standpoint it appears that the operation was fully successful in capturing both bridges intact before either could be blown by the enemy.  The glider pilots assisted the troops on the ground and as soon as released their evacuation was carried out according to plan.  All pilots agree that automatic weapons would have been more value to them than rifles and that so much shooting was going against the enemy snipers it was impossible to locate them.  Of the 6 combinations 4 used their Arrester Parachutes but in each case the glider was going too slowly for them to be effective.  I consider S/Sgt Hobbs put up a very good show in that although wounded himself he carried on for 2 hours assisting the other casualties to the R.A.P. and unloading the gliders.  Also S/Sgt Lawrence and S/Sgt Shorter showed considered initiative, having landed some miles from their objective, in rejoining our forces.  All pilots were given great confidence by the comprehensive briefing and training.

 

Notes.  On pilots who have not returned appended below:-

        S/Sgt Barkway.  S/Sgt Baacke states he spoke to a pilot of "C" Sqn at Tarrant Rushton after their return, who stated he had come over on a Hospital ship on Friday 9 Jun and Barkway was a patient on this ship, which docked at Gosport.  He sent a message to Boyle that he was probably going to lose his arm from the elbow but was very cheerful.

        Glider No.110.  S/Sgt Lawrence and Shorter state that near BRICQUEVILLE on D Day they were informed by two A/Tk gunners that Glider 110 had crashed into a tree killing 1 pilot and breaking both legs of the other.

        S/Sgt Wallwork and S/Sgt Hobbs - last seen on beach on D+1.

        S/Sgt Ainsworth.  last seen 6 Div A.D.S. on D Day.

 

 

Appendix "H"

ACCOUNT OF OPERATION NEPTUNE    'B' SQUADRON.

 

Some weeks prior to the operation taking place this Squadron was ordered to select certain crews who were to under go special glider training.  Three crews were to train to land their gliders in a triangle 150 yards base by 160 yards height.  17 crews under Captain J.F. Smellie were to train to land in a strip 1000 yards long by 400 yards wide.  There were additional crews detailed to act as spares.  No indication was given of where or when these particular parties would land.  The training proceeded satisfactorily and by the time the operation took place a high standard of training had been reached.

 

The 3 crew (battery) were briefed independently by the 9th. Para Bn. whom they were going to take over.  The 6 crews and the reserves were sent to R.A.F. Tarrant Rushton to continue their training there as it was found that the Albemarle was not sufficiently powerful for the job in hand.  The 17 crews under Captain Smellie came under the command of Major Griffiths of 'A' Squadron who was responsible for their briefing.  In addition to the above commitments this Squadron had to provide 40 crews under Capt F.T.J. [Wood?].

 

On the 25th. May. preliminary briefing took place at Wing H.Q. of the Officers concerned in the various operations.  Maps and photographs were studied and certain details of intelligence summaries were given.  From that date those who had been briefed were confined to camp.

 

On the 2nd. of June preliminary briefing of Captain Smellie's crews took place at the station and on the 3rd. June a more detailed picture of their part of the operation was outlined.  In the evening of that day the tug and glider crews concerned had a get together to discuss any matters regarding the operations.  On the Sunday there was no briefing whatsoever and still no indication of when the operation would take place.  On Monday 5th. June there was a main briefing for Captain Smellie's party and their tug crews at 1500 hrs. and a final briefing at 2300 hrs.  The time of take off was scheduled for 0110 6th. June.  During Monday also the 3 crews who were to carry the 9th. Para Bn. were given their final briefing and they were due to take off after Captain Smellie's party.  (a separate report is being rendered on these 3 crews and the 6 crews who flew from Tarrant Rushton.)

 

Captain Smellie took off on operation TONGA at 0117 hrs. during take off his port undercarriage fell off but was unaware of this until told the next day.  The remaining 16 crews took off at intervals some delay being caused at one time because the ropes on the tow path becoming tangled.  One crew (S/Sgt. Shepherd Sgt. Bullivant returned to base due to their glider being uncontrollable.

 

As far as can be ascertained in spite of very adverse weather conditions on the route the remaining 16 crews successfully crossed the English channel.  3 crews however did not reach the L.Z. and 2 of these crews are still missing.  13 gliders of Capt. Smellie's Party actually landed on the L.Z.  The landing was a difficult one due to the fact of cloud obscuring the moon and a number of gliders were badly damaged.  No.39 hit an anti-landing pole on touchdown and the 2nd. pilot Sgt. Beveridge was killed.  None of the loads however were damaged or injured.

 

The glider crews after completion of unloading went to a R.V. on the north end of L.Z. where they remained until first light on 6th. June.  They then moved South to the area of RANVILLE near Div. H.Q. where they came under Command of Major Royle.  They dug in in this area and remained in their positions until the morning of Wednesday 7th. June.  During this time they were shelled and mortared by the enemy, one pilot (Sgt. [?]) was killed and a few others were wounded though not seriously.  During the time Capt. Smellie was detailed to send two N.C.O.s. with Lt. Col. Murray, two N.C.O.s to go with Lieut. Irvine for liaison duties and four crews were dispatched for a special defence under Lieut. Fletcher to the South of RANVILLE village.

 

Briefing for Capt. Neale's party of 40 crews for Operation Mallard commenced on Saturday 3rd June [where?] the military plan and intelligence was detailed to the crews taking part.  The [?] Commanders concerned Capt. T.G. Miller and Lieut. K.W. Powell concentrated for the remainder of Saturday and the whole of Sunday on putting their flights completely in the picture regarding the military situation and plan, visits were also arranged to the transit camp where crews were able to study a model of the area, large scale photographs of the area and also talk to those they were going to carry.

 

Loading for both TONGA and MALLARD was completed in one day without any very large hi[ndrance?].  All loads very carefully checked and careful supervision by the glider crews to avoid damage to the glider and to make sure that the loads were correctly stationed and lashed.

 

From the brief issued by 38 Group it was known that Capt. Smellie's party would take off on the night D-1 and Capt. Neale's party would take off in the evening of D Day.  Immediately Capt. Smellie's party had taken off preparations were made for briefing the crews on operation Mallard.

 

Some days previous a list of glider crews and their respective tug pilots had been given to the Station Commander, Operations and the 2 R.A.F. Squadron Commanders.  Certain tug pilots who took part in operation TONGA were required to tow in operation MALLARD as well as some pilots who dropped paratroops on D-1.  Briefing therefore could not start until the R.A.F. crews had been interrogated and rested.  Briefing for navigators commenced at 1230 hrs. on D Day and the main briefing was at 1400 hrs. and the final briefing at 1700 hrs.  The first take off at 1848 hrs.

 

All through the briefings it was apparent that nothing had been left to chance, every possible scrap of information which could be of assistance was given and every glider crew felt that with such complete organisation as had been arranged the operation could not have been anything else but a complete success.  Their confidence was almost complete.

 

Before the take off for both TONGA and MALLARD a good hearty meal was given to the crews taking part.

 

Crews for operation Mallard reported to their gliders approx. 1 hour before take off where they finally briefed their loads on ditching and any other matters relating to their safety during the flight.  Capt. Neale took off at exactly 1848. and the remaining combinations at close intervals.  There was a delay of 20 minutes during the take off due to a glider crashing on the end of the runway, this was quickly removed by many willing hands and the last glider was airborne at approx. 1950 hrs.  39 combinations took off.  The first 1 hour of the flight was spent over this country for the purpose of forming up.  On the first leg No.76 glider who was flying No.2 in the formation had to force land due to the rope breaking near the tug end.  The whole flight was uneventful and during the channel crossing the tug pilots closed up into as tight a formation as it was possible to attain, and for the last 30 minutes or so of the trip the 38 combinations flew in Vics of 6 in a tight box.  This formation besides giving great defensive fire power bolstered every ones morale sky high.  Very little enemy flak was encountered on the coast though on release due to the fact that the enemy had crept up to the perimeter of the L.Z. there was a certain amount of light flak and small arms fire and in addition there was shelling and mortar fire on the L.Z. itself.

 

Capt. Neale who was leading released at 2111 15 seconds early and 36 gliders landed in one minute 25 seconds.  There was hardly any damage done to the gliders except for an odd nose wheel being broken and a few wing tips being damaged by other aircraft and anti-glider poles.

 

The unloading was in some cases exceedingly rapid and in other cases rather slow.  Some loads were away in 8 minutes, the last loads were not for about an hour 20 minutes.  One load decided to remove the tail rather too early and it dropped off when the glider was some 20 feet in the air.

 

'B' Squadron crews rendezvoused according to plan in the N.W. corner of the orchard the N.E. Corner of the L.Z. where they proceeded to dig in and lie up for the night.  The Squadron came under the command of Major Jackson.  At 2359 hrs. on the 6th. June there was only one crew missing out of the 36 gliders that crossed the coast of France and this crew turned up early in the morning of 7th June.  At approx. 0730 hrs. 7th. June orders were received for the Force to proceed to the beaches.  The order of march was 'E' Sqn, 'B' Sqn, 'F' Sqn, 'C' Sqn.  The route was across the L.Z. over the bridges crossing the River ORNE and the Canal passed L.Z. W. to ST AUBIN to COLLEVILLE to the beaches.  It was noticed while passing through AUBIN that enormous damage had been done to the village by allied bombing, and it was apparent that the inhabitants still shaken by the bombing were annoyed to see British troops passing through.  For the most part, however, the French people appeared to welcome us.  The whole force was delayed for some considerable time in the village of COLLVILLE due to an enemy sniper firing from the Church Tower.  This sniper was eventually dealt with by a 25 pdr. gun and a Sherman Tank but shortly afterwards another sniper opened up from a house nearby.  This gentleman was dealt with by a grenade thrown by Lieut. Powell.

 

While walking in COLLVILLE Force John under Major Royle joined up with Force Peter and together the two forces proceeded to the beaches which were reached at approx. 1040 hrs.

 

[After?] approx. an hour Infantry Landing Craft came into the beaches and took the whole [force?] off.  Every pilot on reaching the deck was taken in hand by the Navy to whom special tribute should be paid for the way in which they looked after the Glider pilots during the Channel crossing.  The force of 6 I.L.Cs. docked at Newhaven at approx. 0730 hrs Thursday 8th. June.  Force then marched to a reception camp where they rested until transport arrived to take the force to the Somerset's camp in Sleaford, where a hot meal was provided.  Squadrons returned to the Depot by M.T. where they were debriefed and then returned in parties to base.

 

Casualties:- 2 killed, 5 wounded, and 2 crews missing.

 

In total 64 crews took part in the operation and this was made up as follows:-

(i) 3 Crews to the battery.  (1 Crew force landed in U.K.)

(ii) 6 Crews to the bridges.

(iii) 17 Crews to L.Z. N on D-1 (1 crews returned to base - 3 Crews did not reach L.Z.)

(iv) 38 Crews D Day to L.Z. N (1 crew crashed on take off - 1 crew force landed in U.K.)

 

 

Appendix "J"

      REPORTS ON OPERATIONS "TONGA" & "MALLARD" - "A" SQUADRON, GLIDER PILOT REGT

 

"A" Squadron provided crews for three forces concerned in the above Operations.

 

(1) Four crews briefed to land on L.Z. "V" at 0046 hours on the 6th June 44, carrying elements of the 3rd Parachute Brigade.

(2) Twenty-one crews briefed to land on L.Z. "N" at 0320 hours, 6th June 44, carrying Divisional Headquarters 6th Airborne Division, Signals etc.

(3) Forty-one crews briefed to land on L.Z. "W" at 2100 hours, 6th June 44.

 

(1) S/Sjt Thorpe is the only Pilot from "A" Squadron of this force who has so far reported back to the United Kingdom.  He landed three-quarters of a mile South-West of the L.Z., due no doubt, to no aid whatsoever, and poor visibility.  On landing, his Second Pilot, Sjt Hardie, was badly injured.  S/Sjt Thorpe managed, eventually, to get Sjt Hardie to the F.D.S. of the Canadian Para Bn.  In the meantime, S/Sjt Thorpe, himself, fought with the Canadians, and eventually returned to Divisional Headquarters, and thence to the Beaches, on Wednesday, 7th June 44, at 1600 hours.  The remaining six Pilots of "A" Squadron of this force are missing.


(2) Of the twenty-one crews from the Squadron briefed to land on L.Z. "N", fifteen are known to have landed there.  Two pilots were killed, three injured, and eight are missing.  After landing the majority of the Pilots accompanied their loads to Divisional Headquarters.  Little enemy resistance occurred to prevent Divisional Headquarters taking up their positions.  It was noted that the Parachutists were at this time concentrated and dug in, and at 0515 hours heavy Allied bombing of the Beach Area was observed.  At 0545 hours all Glider Pilots under my command moved off from Divisional Headquarters to the R.V.  At the R.V. immediate steps were taken to dig in, and all ranks breakfasted.

 

0800 hours - Section under command of Lt. H.K. Chapman were sent off, if possible, to make their way to L.Z. "W".

 

0930 hours - Lt. P.N. Fletcher was despatched to Divisional Headquarters to contact the C.R.E. with a view to providing assistance in clearance of L.Z. "N", but was assured that no assistance was required.

 

0945 hours - I contacted a Company of the 12th Para Bn. and informed them of the Force position - Orders were then received to establish a defensive position in conjunction with 12th Para Bn.  - Intermittent sniping.

 

1025 hours - Three men wounded, one fatally, by burst of fire from the South of Force position. - Cause unknown.  The Padre (Rev G. Pare) rendered first aid and fetched casualties to Divisional F.D.S.

 

1040 hours - Orders received to despatch five men under command of Major J.P. Royle to patrol in area Le Mariquet.  Orders subsequently received to establish Standing Patrol under command of Lt. P.N. Fletcher at M.R. 119725 and 119723.

 

1100  hours - Message received from Lt. H.K. Chapman stating that he was held up at the bridges and giving general picture of the situation at the bridges.  Message passed to Force H.Q.

 

1150 hours - Lt. Fletcher's Standing Patrol reported in position.

 

1300 hours - Intermittent shelling on landing zone "N".

 

1330 hours - proceeded with Major J.P. Royle to recce landing zone "N".  Recce party fired upon both going to and coming off L.Z.  Throughout the evening spasmodic firing occurred in all directions.  Snipers still active in Le Mariquet.  - Colonel Louard 13th Para Bn. contacted during the evening.

 

2100 hours - Glider landings commenced.  At same time heavy shelling of the L.Z. from 2100 hours until 2110 hours, shells falling South of L.Z. and immediately around R.V.

 

2200 hours - Lt. Fletcher contacted, and reported that only troops forward of his position were three Anti-Tank guns.

 

2315 hours - Container dropping from Dakotas all around Force position.  Enemy made determined efforts to destroy containers whilst in the air, both with light flak and L.M.G. fire.

 

7 June 44

 

0430 hours - Stand To ordered.

 

0745 hours - Received Orders to move Force to the Beaches, via Collville S'ur Orne.

 

0800 hours - Standing Patrols withdrawn.  - 12 Para Bn. notified of withdrawal.

 

0900 hours - Force held up by snipers on bridges of Collville S'ur Orne.  Assistance sought from Canadian Armoured unit who blew off tower of church.

 

0940 hours - Bridges crossed.  Force proceeded to the Beaches.

 

1220 hours - Force embarked on Landing L.C.Is.

 

8 June 44

 

0845 hours - Force disembarked at Newhaven.  - Contact made with remainder of Squadron under the command of Captain J.N.G. Hardie.

 

(2)  Lt. H.K. Chapman's party, who had, (see above) left R.V. at 0800 hours on 6th June 44, with orders to proceed to L.Z. "W", in preparation for landings at 2100 hours, was held up at the bridges over the canal and river until 1330 hours.  At 1400 hours the bridges were crossed, and the party proceeded to L.Z. "W", having contact R.Es in St. Aubin d'Arquenay.  Lt. Chapman indicated strip position on L.Z. "W" and these were finally completed at 2050 hours.  The party remained until all the Gliders had landed, and having left two NCOs to contact Captain Barrie, returned to R.V. where Lt. Chapman reported at 2230 hours.

 

(3)  Forty-one combinations took off from R.A.F. Station, Harwell, on this part of the Operation, and thirty-nine reached the L.Z.  Landing was effected at 2100 hours, in the area South of road St Aubin d'Arquenay - Benouville (0976), the landing strips having been overshot, owing to the fact that they were invisible to the majority of the crews, and also due to the fact that the landing "T" had been laid for an East to West landing, which was not as briefed.  During landing and unloading, S.A. machine gun fire was encountered on the L.Z. and Mortar fire was also reported.  One passenger was killed by light Anti-aircraft fire, whilst the glider was on the approach.  After unloading the crews proceeded independently to the R.V. (098775).  Thirty-seven crews had reported by 2230 hours and contact was made with Capt. Barrie at this time.  The remaining two crews reported by 0130 hours.  A standing patrol was established at 098702 with orders to report any enemy movement in the area North of the R.V.  The patrol also rendered hourly Situation Reports.  The force was dug in by 0130 hours, and with the exception of six sentries, the force stood down.  During the night the beaches were heavily bombed and Stand To was ordered at 0530 hours.  At 0545 hours all 2nd Pilots were despatched to retrieve equipment from the gliders.  At 0715 hours a warning order to move was received, and at 0800 hours the force left the R.V. on its way to the beaches.  At Collville S'ur Orne, the Squadrons separated and proceeded independently by different routes.  At 0915 hours "A" Squadron was held up by snipers located in the Church Tower.  Before the Squadron moved off, covering fire was given by three Bren Guns.  At 0945 hours at point 088794, twelve Ju 88's bombed the road.  The beach was reached at 1000 hours, and embarkation took place at 1030 hours.  The sea crossing was uneventful, and the force disembarked at Newhaven at 0800 hours on 8 June 44, and reported there to Major S.C. Griffith.

 

GENERAL REMARKS.

 

It is felt that more use could have been made of the Glider Pilots in a defensive role, the R.V. being unsuitable for this purpose.  Morale remained extremely high throughout.  I would like to commend the work done by all ranks, and in particular that done by the Padre (Rev. G. Pare), Lieut. H.K. Chapman, and S/Sgt. Bradshaw.  The night landing on L.Z. 'N', was, in my opinion, with due regard to the circumstances prevailing, remarkably successful.  Of the sixty-six crews who took off for the operation, only three failed to reach French Territory.

 

[Signed]

MAJOR.

Commanding "A" Squadron, The Glider Pilot Regiment.

Harwell

7 June 44

 

 

Appendix "K"

'D' SQUADRON

Report on Operation "TONGA"

 

'D' Squadron provided 34 Crews for operation TONGA and took off on 6th June from TARRANT RUSHTON at 0130 hrs together with 4 Hamilcars which were flown by 'C' Squadron.  L.Z. was 'N'.

 

All crews had been trained by 4 A/Tk. Bty. as gun members on 6 pounder A/Tk. guns, the plan being that the glider pilots would act as gun members until the arrival of extra gunners in the next days landing.  As Major Lyne, Capt. Walker, and Capt. Murdoch were all missing from Squadron R.V. Lieut. Muir took command of the Glider Pilots.  Capt. Murdoch had forced landed in England but arrived at 2100 hrs 6th June on operation "MALLARD".  Major Lyne forced landed near the River Dives and fought his way back in spite of a broken foot.  Capt. Walker is still missing.

 

Casualties in this operation were:-

 

18 Missing.

4 Wounded in action.

 

Attached are reports of various individual experiences.

 

 

Report on Operation "Tonga"

 

I took off at 0125 hrs on June 6th, but as soon as I was Airborne I knew that I was in for a hard journey.  Glider was grossly overloaded and controls were sloppy.  I had to keep on picking up my wings with rudder.  I warned my tug-pilot to take turns carefully.  Later in avoiding another combination my tug took violent avoiding action turning to Starboard.  I followed as best as I could but in order to avoid a collision had to go down into a low-tow position.  The port yoke caught over my pilot-head.  I attempted to free it but got out of position and the rope snapped taking the pilot-head with it.  I forced landed near Winchester - no casualties - nose wheel of glider broken.  I took the gun and jeep out realising that I must get back to Tarrant Rushton at once in order to get over in the next lift.  On arriving at Tarrant, I reported to 38 Group and asked permission for my glider to be placed in four of Hamilcars that evening.  It was granted.

 

We set out again at 7.25 p.m. on 6th June arriving after an uneventful trip.  Light flak was encountered. Landing O.K. Gun and jeep out in 25 mins.  Reported to R.V. and Lieut.Colonel Murray, Major Royle, Adjutant and Muir - proceeded to 5th Para. Bde H.Q. for night, pending taking up a gun position in early hours.  At 0330 hrs 7th June took up position in hedgerow 1 mile south of Ranville.  Dug in with some members of 12 Para. Bn.  At 12 noon jerry attacked our left flank, mortar and M.G. fire kept us in slit trenches.  I was observing for the gun.  I saw a tank which was firing H.E. and M.G.  I explained the position of it but Gun Det. would not open fire.  At last I persuaded them and I loaded the gun.  Layer scored hit and put the Tank Mk IV out of action.  It was burning furiously - I did not see anyone get out of it.  Another tank spotted us and opened fire with M.G. - took to slit trenches.  Tank fire H.E. - killed Layer, Gun Det. Comdr. and wounded driver.  I ordered paratroopers to move up the hedgerow to a new position.  I sent for Stretcher-bearer meanwhile applying First Aid to Gun Det. Comdr. who was dying and then to jeep driver.  I asked for volunteers to keep gun in action.  A Para. Sgt. said he would come over shortly.  I then saw another tank and ran to the gun - it was moving so I aimed on its nose, but missed. It turned for home and was at once hit by another gun - the tank Commander got out, we opened fire on him - tank then blew up.  I found gun breach wide out - it would not return on its slide.  Found that recuperator had been locked - Gun u/s.  Took jeep with breach block which I removed from gun and all remaining ammunition and salvageable kit belonging to dead and wounded gunners to Div. H.Q. and reported to C.R.A. pointing out position of u/s gun.  I was ordered back to the beaches.

 

(Signed) B. Murdoch, Capt.

 

 

Report  on Operation "TONGA"

 

Lieut. Muir

Sgt. Stones

Glider No.108.

 

Good Tow - hit by flak before L.Z. - released, circled L.Z. and last starboard u/c and nosewheel on landing amidst "poles and holes".

 

Proceeded with 6 pounder to site S.E. of RANVILLE.  Later encountered 3 Self Propelled Guns (Hun) which were killed by guns on our left.  Engaged supporting infantry who went to ground and returned.  Guns moved to 2 new sites - during 2nd glider landing experienced heavy mortar fire and spasmodic M.G.

 

On relief marched to beachhead independently.

 

(Signed) I.C. Muir, Lt.

 

 

A/Tk. Gun carried by:- S/Sgt. Rickwood, G.A., Sgt. Gray, J.

 

After unloading the gun from the glider we moved through Ranville and took up various positions around the crossroads at le Bas de Ranville.

 

We held these positions until 1400 hrs Wednesday 7th June, when due to heavy and accurate shell, mortar and machine gun fire it was found necessary to withdraw to another position, together with other guns from the battery.

 

We accounted for an armoured car with gun on tow.

 

As there were now more sufficient gunners present, we were given permission to retire to the beaches.

 

(Signed G.A. Rickwood, S/Sgt.

 

 

Report on Operation "Tonga"

 

S/Sgt Downing R.C.

 

Sir,

 

I took off from Tarrant Rushton at 0130 hrs on 6 June 44 on Operation "Tonga" in Horsa No.118.  Our dinghy was inflated and burst by a member of the gun det. some 10 minutes before take-off.  No replacement was available so we took off without a dinghy.  My Mae West was u/s also.

 

The journey was uneventful and the tow good until we reached the French coast when we ran through a fair amount of cloud and smoke and were fired upon and hit by light flak.  We were then some 4 miles to part of track, the flak then faded out.  When we caught sight of the L.Z. there was one light only showing - the winking one at the base of the 'T' - and that one went out as soon as I had cast off.  After release I found that I was undershooting and was approx. 2 miles to part of the release point.  I maintained my best gliding speed and headed direct for the nearest part of the L.Z.  We were fired on by more light flak and were hit in the fuselage, wings and cockpit and the spare petrol can of the jeep was holed and flooded the glider with petrol.

 

I landed 50 yards inside the L.Z. without flap at 6 minutes behind the E.T.A.

 

I covered the unloading operation with the Bren gun and encountered no opposition, but just paratroops of the L.Z. force.  The crew experienced some difficulty with unloading and it was an hour and a half before we moved off, but were met on the road by an R.A. major who diverted us to a position in a wheatfield 1 mile due south of Ranville and about 500 yards east of the road running south from the village.

 

We dug into position and were not bothered by E/A until about 1030 hrs when an enemy mechanized (2 tanks and 2 self propelled guns) and infantry.  Our 6 pounder scored a hit on one of the tanks with the first round from about 600 yards and the second round blew it up.  The infantry were repulsed and mainly by the 13th Para. Bn. but I'm certain I nailed one Jerry, and possibly two.

 

For the remainder of 'D' Day we were fired on spasmodically by snipers, light and heavy M/G fire, mortars and light artillery.  Our jeep suffered a direct hit from mortars and although we saved the jeep by throwing off the burning kit, a great deal of equipment and ammunition (including my ammunition) was destroyed.

 

In the evening we were subjected to heavy mortar fire until the enemy were driven back from the crest in front of our position by the reinforcements landed by gliders on L.Z. 'N'.

 

At 2330 hrs we were withdrawn to B.H.Q. and were returned to our position at 0330 hrs.  From then on, things were fairly quiet, apart from some intermittent mortar fire until the replacement Nos.2 and 5 on the 6 pounder arrived at about 1030 hrs.

 

My second pilot Sgt. Elliott and I then made our way back to B.H.Q. in Ranville and from there, in a party headed by Lieut. Muir, to Oustreham and the U.K.

 

A good time was had by all.

 

I am, Sir,

Your obedient servant,

(Signed) R.C. Downing, S/Sgt.

(5252854).

25 June 1944.

 

 

Report on Operation "Tonga"

Glider No.115

1st Pilot - S/Sgt R. White (952832)

2nd Pilot - Sgt F. Eason

 

I was allotted Glider No.L.H.378 for the Operation which was loaded with 6 pounder A/T [Anti-Tank Gun] and Jeep with a gun crew of three.

 

2400 hrs on the night of the 5/6th saw us on the tow path for final check on loads etc., last minute details with tug skipper F/L Imber and crew.  We had gone through this routine before on exercises so that it was hard to realise that this was the real thing.

 

0100 hrs approx. First glider away, just a matter of time now, the usual check up with co-pilot and gun crew.  Feeling O.K.

 

0130 hrs Off we go with fingers crossed, slight slip stream trouble otherwise O.K.  Usual forming up before crossing coast.

 

0320 hrs Approaching French coast.  Gunfire observed and flak (medium) encountered.  Tug pilot waving to avoid concentration over coast.  Cloud and smoke encountered which made it rather difficult.  Little while after flashing green signal observed.

 

0328 hrs Signal to pull off from Tug skipper.  Away we go making for L.Z on starboard side - visibility poor, but green landing lights visible to co-pilot who advised direction of approach.

 

0330 hrs Landed and managed to avoid obstructions.  Front wheel collapsed at end of run but otherwise everything O.K.  Unable to run gun and jeep out tail owing to position of glider.  Unloaded gun through front ramp, then tried to detach tail unit.  Unable to remove so decided to blow tail off.

 

0445 hrs After a struggle, ready to move off.  I joined other guns and moved into position with caution.  Encountered enemy snipers.

 

0615 hrs Guns in position and digging in ready for action.

 

0830 hrs Co-pilot on look-out observes enemy tank movement on our left flank.  Our gun well concealed but not very well sighted.  We came under small arms fire and Sgt. Eason opened up on bren gun.  By this time first S.P. tanks in range of gun but gun layer did not consider that he could hit the tank.

 

In the meantime I had loaded round and had a look through the sights myself.  By this time the tank was almost dead in front at 200 yds range and needed stopping.  So I decided to have a go myself.  Sgt. Eason kept the Nazis heads down by bren fire and I lay the gun ready to fire.  The first round missed and so I immediately re-loaded and this time applied 200 range on sights.

 

The tank had stopped and I was expecting them to open up on us any minute and so I quickly sighted the gun and fired, this time it was a hit and the tank went up in flames.  During this short time another tank had been hit by the gun on my left flank and also one that was almost unobserved from our positions was put out of action by a gun on our right flank.

 

So from our positions, 3 tanks were seen to be burning, and ammo was exploding in each at varied intervals.  The infantry who were escorting the tanks were then engaged for the remainder of the day by S.A. fire.  Heavy mortar fire and shell fire was encountered during the evening but without any damage to us.

 

2100 hrs Reinforcements arrived by air and enemy opened up with S.A. fire and machine gun fire on gliders, while the L.Z. was peppered with mortar fire.

 

2330 hrs Enemy activity in front of us at range of over 1000 x and approaching towards gun positions.

 

[?]0 hrs Ordered to withdraw guns to Batt. H.Q. while infantry take up position.  Withdrew under cover of darkness without any trouble.

 

0330 hrs 7th Returned to position on south side of Ranville ready for attack.

 

1030 hrs Regular gun crew arrived and Sgt. Eason and myself were ordered to report to Batt. H.Q.

 

1320 hrs Moved off for beach head in party of 15.  No trouble encountered and arrived at beach head at 1430 hrs.

 

1500 hrs Embarked on T.L.C.

 

2100 hrs Sailed in convoy for England.

 

0930 hrs 8th Anchored off Isle of Wight.

 

1700 hrs Disembarked at Southampton and proceeded to Fargo Camp.

 

-------

 

Excellent tow by F/L Imber who brought us in on track and avoided flak with skill over French coast, without deviating off prepared run up to L.Z.

 

(Signed) R.E. White S/Sgt.

 

 

Report on Operation "Tonga"

 

I was 1st pilot on a Horsa Glider for the above exercise, my 2nd pilot was Lt. Moorwood.  My load was a 6-pounder A/T Gun and Jeep, three members of the gun crew and various items necessary for the working of the gun.

 

The take-off from the aerodrome was at the correct time and after a very smooth and excellent tow we reached the French coast on course, here we went into cloud but I managed to keep my position behind the tug and at the same time keep a look-out for the L.Z.  There was a certain amount of light Ack Ack fire, a few rockets and some fire from L.M.Gs.

 

The Tug Pilot kept me informed from the moment we hit the coast and soon I was able to pick out prominent objects and the green landing Ts.  As soon as I was in position I pulled-off and made a normal approach and landing.

 

As soon as the aircraft had slipped, both Lt. Moorwood and I rushed to release the shackles of the gun, we then proceeded to the tail unit and after rather a lengthy struggle got the tail off and the jeep and gun out of the glider. We were then ready to proceed to the gun position.

 

The Sgt. i/c gun did not appear to be too sure of his position and would wait around for an officer to give him instructions.  Eventually when he was on his correct road he suddenly swung the jeep around and rushed down another road that led towards the enemy.  The gun crew has not been seen since.  I was left standing in the road with Lt. Moorwood, we made a search for his gun and crew without success.

 

I was then placed i/c of the N.C.Os. of 'D' Squadron - a total of nine including myself and was detailed to cover a bridge south of Ranville on the CAEN road.  A defensive position was taken up and the section stayed in the position from 1200 hrs 6th until told to withdraw at 0900 the 7th.  During this period the section was under mortar fire and sniper fire.

 

When the gliders landed at 2100 hrs on the 6th we spotted an enemy L.M.G. post and fired upon it with the Bren Gun.  S/Sgt. Dodd was one of my Bren gunners, he was firing the gun whilst I reloaded and observed.  I was not able to observe any damage done to the enemy M.G. post as we drew fire from all directions and had to take cover.

 

On the order to withdraw we proceeded to the beach in orderly fashion.

 

(Signed) F. Stevenson S/Sgt. (551667)

24 June 1944.

 

 

Report on Operation "TONGA"

 

1st Pilot - S/Sgt A. L. Bashforth

2nd Pilot - Sgt R. F. Dray

Glider No. 113

 

After take-off from base we had no difficulties with the exception of a few vicious slip streams 3-4 miles N.W. of Chichester when, in a slip stream, the port rope pulled out.  Being badly out of position, and unable to rejoin the correct position in spite of determined efforts on the part of both pilots, and with, as a consequence, the tug diving steeply away to starboard I released the other rope.

 

Fortunately we discovered an aerodrome, but not being given the 'letter of the day' nor the 'colour of the day' could not identify myself, and on asking for recognition with my landing light, the immediate response gained from the 'drome was the switching out of all lights.  Having memorised position of flare-path I hoped for the best and just made it.  The landing was good, no damage or casualties being sustained. I was followed about 5 minutes later by a Hamilcar, which too forced landed.

 

I sent a report back to base via Intelligence and was retrieved by an Albemarle which took me back to base on the morning of 7th June [correction - should read 6th June].

 

Report on Operation "MALLARD"

 

We took off 7.25 p.m. on 7th [correction - 6th] June from base before the Hamilcar stream, and had an uneventful trip, rejoining the Hamilcar stream just before crossing the English coast, and being at tail end of convoy were rather relieved to see the prominent fighter-escort.  We encountered light flak just before reaching French coast, and after release concentrated small arms fire.  Point of release mouth of River Orne.  No damage or casualty was sustained in landing.

 

We had great difficulty in removing tail unit for unloading, but once completed, under heavy mortar fire, we made our way via Div H.Q. to Battery H.Q.  We were kept there during the night and sent out to position at 0500 hrs the following morning.  The gun was dug in and everything was rather quiet - no enemy being encountered.

 

In the afternoon we marched back to the beach in a party of 16 under Lt. Muir. By T.L.C. back to Southampton and eventually base via Fargo camp.

 

(Signed) A. L. Bashforth, S/Sgt

R. F. Dray, Sgt.

 

 

Report on Operation "TONGA"

 

S/Sgt. Jolliffe, R. (958807)

Sgt. Prentice, A.

Glider No. 120

 

We took off from base and crossed the French coast on track.  We were struck several times by light flak in the fuselage, but the damage was negligible.  We saw the green lights and cast off. I then handed over to my co-pilot - he had a better view of the landing strip.  He took the glider to about 200 ft and after that we were both flying the machine at about 100 ft we struck an obstruction.  The whole starboard side of the cock-pit was smashed.  The pneumatic system was smashed and the starboard stick broken.  We touched down about 80 miles an hour and being unable to stop the glider we crashed into the hedge.

 

We were unable to get the tail off, and had to blow it off.  We then went with our gun to a position at approx. mile due East of Ranville.  The day passed uneventfully, apart from spasmodic sniping and shell fire at 2100 hrs when the next gliders arrived.  We came under heavy mortar fire, for about 30 mins, but this stopped and everything became quiet again.

 

We (the gun and jeep) were taken back to B.H.Q. for about 3 hours at approx. 2330.  We returned to our position at approx. 0415 on the 7 June and we were relieved by the rest of the gun detachment at 0830 hrs on the 7 Jun 44.  We returned to B.H.Q. where we met Lt. Muir and we made our way back to the coast.  We took one prisoner on 6 Jun 44 who we handed over to the paratroops for interrogation.

 

We saw no tanks, and the gun and detachment were complete when we left.

 

(Signed) R. T. Jolliffe, S/Sgt.

 

 

Report on Operation "Tonga"

 

S/Sgt. Higgs, W. (5347593)

SSM. Oliver, W. (3056895)

 

On crossing the French coast we encountered heavy fire from ground defences.  The glider was hit several times and in taking evasive action the starboard 'yoke' caught on the starboard wheel whilst in cloud.

 

We lost sight of the tug in what appeared to be thick smoke and flew 'on the rope' for a considerable time.  When we came out of cloud the tug pilot did a wide circuit to find a pinpoint.  We released in the correct position after he had taken us round again.  The landing was uneventful.  We were unable to remove the tail so we unloaded from the side which proved quite successful.

 

We moved to the edge of the landing strip and after contacting paratroops made our way to the Bty. R.V.  There was no one there to give instructions so we proceeded to the pre-arranged position of the gun in company of another detachment.  The four glider pilots acted as scouts on the way up.

 

We then dug in and camouflaged our position leaving a look-out with the Bren gun.  During this time we never saw any troops (friendly or otherwise) to our front.  We were settled in our position (1 miles S.E. of Ranville) by 0930 hrs.

 

About mid-day we saw four S.P. guns and one Mk IV tank with infantry in support advance over the sky line to warn us.  We waited until they were within range and before we could fire the guns on our left flank opened up and hit four of them.  We fired on the tank crews and infantry with our small arms.  From then on we were fired on by snipers, mortars and machine-guns returning their fire when we could see them, which was not often.

 

About 2100 hrs when the second wave of gliders were landing we were fired on from three sides by machine-guns and mortars.  The No.3 of the gun was wounded by a bullet in the head and the No.1 escorted him to the R.A.P. leaving the two pilots with the gun.  The enemy fire during this time was very heavy and accurate and the gun was hit on several occasions by bullets and mortar casing.

 

We held on until almost dark when we went to a position about 200 x from the gun, where we teamed up with a small party of paratroops who had taken up a position behind us and were awaiting a counter attack.  At first light we encountered the No.1 of the gun who had orders to withdraw the gun to Bty. H.Q.  By this time the regular gun crew had arrived and we reported to our R.V. in the village and proceeded to the beach-head under command of Lieut. Muir, returning to the U.K. without incident.

 

(Signed) D.W. Higgs, S/Sgt.

              W. Oliver, SSM.

 

 

Report on Operation "TONGA"

 

S/Sgt. Statham.

Sgt. Boswell.

Glider No.112.

 

Sir,

 

I took off on operation "Tonga" at 0130 hrs. on 6 Jun 44.  The journey was uneventful until the enemy coast was reached, although we kept getting ahead of time and making several 360 turns to keep us on time.  Upon reaching the enemy coast we were flying at 1,000 ft. and engaged by several light flak guns.  Most of the shots went between the tug and glider, some of it going through the wings.  The tug was not sure that this was the correct spot to cross the coast and so he turned east and flew along the coastline for a little time to confirm it.  Light flak was met in quite heavy quantities along the coastline but as we turned out to sea to complete a turn to make another run in it was well out of range.  Upon the second run in more light flak was encountered until the coast-line was passed.  After passing the coast we climbed from 1,000 ft to 1,800 ft. and cast off at this height about 2,000 yds east of the green lights.  We made a normal right hand circuit, increasing the speed and angle of descent somewhat when coming in on the approach to avoid flak and saw no more of this after doing so.  When making the final check I saw two other gliders together about 30 yds in front but had enough speed on to pull over these, stalling at about 15 ft as we had no air speed left after climbing over the two gliders.  The nose wheel and port main wheel were knocked off in the landing and we quickly came to a stop.  None of the contents of the A/C were damaged and no injuries were sustained by any of the crew.

 

The tail proved difficult to remove and finally had to be chopped through one longeron, the bolts being removed on the other three.  We were not able to clear the troughs to unload the jeep and so used those from the next glider complete with the sockets.  We manoeuvred the jeep halfway down the ramp when the starboard trough gave way and we had to haul the jeep out by hand.  So the ramp was now U/S, the gun was unloaded through the front door.  Unloading was completed at 0500 hrs.

 

We left the L.Z. and contacted other guns in the village of Ranville at about 0630 hrs moving into position on the left flank of the line of A/T guns, arriving here at about 0730 hrs.  The gun was positioned at the end of a hedge covering an expanse of open ground in front.  The gun was dug in and camouflaged by 0930 hrs when we proceeded to dig slit trenches.

 

At 1030 hrs the paratroop Sgt. in charge of the platoon in our particular section reported tanks in front whereupon we took our positions on the gun; myself as No.2.  The tanks were accompanied by infantry who opened fire upon the gun with L.M.G.  The first tank was allowed to pass and we engaged the second one at about 300 yds.  Our first shot stopped and fired the tank which was a S.P. gun and we fired a second shot at it, which also hit.  The crew who left the tank were disposed of by the paratroops by the gun and Sgt. Boswell with the Bren gun as were an infantry to the front of the gun.

 

Throughout the remainder of the day intermittent mortar and sniper fire was laid on the gun, several bombs landing within 30 yds radius of the gun.  At 1430 hrs fire was opened up upon the position from a 20 mm cannon located in the corn field, but this withdrew after about half an hour.

 

At 2330 hrs we were ordered to withdraw the gun the Battery H.Q.  I had to drive the jeep owing to the gunner driver having been wounded by a mortar bomb earlier in the day but Bty H.Q. was safely reached about midnight.

 

We were ordered to return the gun to its position at 0330 hrs on 7 Jun 44, which we did and remained with it until relieved by the regular gun crew at 1000 hrs when we returned to Bty H.Q.

 

(Signed) W.J. Statham, S/Sgt.

25 June 44.

 

 

Report on Operation TONGA

 

1st Pilot S/Sgt. Smith, A.H.

2nd Pilot Sgt. Stephenson, J.

 

5/6 June 44

 

Sir,

 

The tow was uneventful from the take off at 0130 hrs until we reached the French coast when some quite concentrated bursts of flak were encountered and also a considerable patch of thick smoke.  The rear gunner put his red light on and I managed to keep in a favourable position.  We encountered several more bursts of flak up to the L.Z. but managed to land safely and without any damage to the glider.

 

We unloaded the glider and proceeded to take up our gun position which was to the rear of the arc of guns and covered the Eastern edge of the L.Z.  It was a difficult position as there was little or no cover and we had to stick it into a hedge and camouflaged it with pieces of hedging etc.  We stayed in this position until 0900 hrs at which time we were being heavily mortared being just on the edge of the L.Z. and which was the apparent target for the German mortars.  We proceeded from this position to go to our new detailed positions which was on the main road to the South of Ranville and was on the right flank of the other gun positions.  We attempted to get to this position but on going over the (stream) bridge and about 50 yards onwards just through the village we encountered heavy machine-gun fire and the No.1 on the Gun told us we would have to wait till it was clear enough or less open to fire before we could take up our position.  We stayed by the bridge till approximately 1300 hrs and then we had orders to take up another position with a company of the 13th paratroops on the left flank of the arc of guns.  The Major Commanding the paratroops in this area said they expected an attack on this flank and he wanted the gun covering the S.E. approach to the position.

 

It was a difficult job to get the gun in position as there was no cover except a small hedge and we were again under fire from an M.G.42 and from Snipers in a wood about 200 yards S.E. of us.  We managed to get in position without camouflaging the front, which we did later when the paratroops sent a fairly strong burst of fire in the direction of the wood.

 

We encountered no tanks whilst in this position but concentrated on assisting the paratroops to clear the wood of snipers and the machine-gun post; (using our own bren gun and rifles).  We dealt effectively with all but 2 snipers who kept on firing spasmodically throughout the day and night until they were cleared out by the Oxf. & Bucks in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

 

There was heavy mortar fire on Tuesday night when the 2nd stream of gliders were landing.  Afterwards the expected attack did not materialise and we had little trouble on Wednesday morning, as by this time the airborne infantry had moved in front of us and were holding positions a little forward of ours.  We were relieved by the gunners about 1030 hrs and reported to B.H.Q.

 

Your obedient servant,

 

25 June 44.

1445045 S/Sgt. Smith, A. H.

 

S/Sgt. Smith - loader.

Sgt. Stephenson - Bren.

 

 

Appendix "L"

Report on Operation "MALLARD"

 

'D' Squadron provided 34 crews (including 17 attached from 'E' Squadron, 2 Wing).  On operation MALLARD, Capt. I.A. Morrison was in command.

 

The combination took off from KEEVIL at 1900 hrs and 32 gliders of the 34 landed on L.Z. 'W'.  1 glider would not take off and another Horsa landed at Ford due to engine failure of the tug.

 

Lt. Martin was killed due to a crash on landing and his second pilot Lt. A.A. Clark was badly injured.  S/Sgt. Coddington and Sgt. Goodchild were also killed on landing.

 

Attached is a full report by Capt. I.A. Morrison.

 

Report on Operation MALLARD

by Captain J.A. Morrison

 

It was about 2100 hrs on 6 Jun 44 that we crossed the French coast and headed towards our Landing Zone.  There was flak coming up from Ouistreham but this did not worry us particularly as it seemed to be aimed at the gliders to our port, and as we approached the church at COLLEVILLE SUR ORNE, I said goodbye to my tug crew and pulled off.

 

There was a feeling of great elation as we neared the field into which we were to land for we had practically 'made it'.  We had been briefed to land from West to East, but as the 'Harwell' gliders were landing from South to North I decided to lead by stream in, in the same direction.  At this point we could not see any landing strips, and as the gliders seemed to be piling up in all directions it looked as if we were in for an exciting landing.

 

Luckily, S/Sgt. Beech, my second pilot saw an area in which the poles had not been placed.  It was a ploughed field about 70 yards long by 40 yards wide, and we managed to get down without any trouble.

 

From that moment we were frantically busy, and hadn't time to worry about the sniper and L.M.G. fire which seemed to be coming from the area to the South of our L.Z.  It was there that S/Sgt. Richardson and S/Sgt. Fraser captured two prisoners.

 

When coming into land S/Sgt. Richardson noticed three Huns shooting at him from a camouflaged pit about 100 yards in front.  He quickly warned his load that they would have to deal with trouble after landing, and then he dived his glider at the enemy position, landing practically on top of it.  He and his load jumped out and captured two of the three snipers.  The third had run off into the hedge from whence he commenced to pepper them.  S/Sgt. Richardson then took two men and stalked the Hun, and was just about to attack him when a British tank which had spotted the trouble, machine-gunned the hedgerow killing the sniper.

 

The immediate task of our force was to unload our glider and get to the R.V. as soon as possible.  This we did, and arrived in the Squadron area in time to assist the men into the Flight Areas.  I had already chosen these from the photographs and I was able to give out my orders and start my men digging within an hour of landing.

 

The Squadron Area was positioned along a high hedge containing a ditch, which provided us concealment from air and ground, although our field of fire was considerably reduced by corn standing about 3 ft high.  Accordingly we improvised by digging a slit trench deep enough to provide ample cover against blast or shelling but with a step from which we could fire over the corn.

 

The men were in high spirits and went to work magnificently and by 2330 hrs I was able to inform the O.C. Ian Force that we were prepared for anything.

 

The night was quite uneventful apart from slight bombing directed at the Fleet, although we were quite grateful for the narrow trench as there was a lot of 'stuff' coming down.

 

Immediately after 'Stand-down' the following morning I sent out two fighting patrols to recover weapons lost in the glider crashes, and to bury the deceased pilots.

 

The bodies of Lt. Martin, S/Sgt. Coddington and Sgt. Goodchild were found and buried by a First Aid Party at ST. AUBYN D'ARQUENAY CHURCH.  It was noticeable that they had been stripped of watches, fighting knives and rations.

 

These patrols returned after two hours bringing with them various weapons, British and German, but no prisoners.

 

At 1030 hrs we received orders to make our way to the road via COLLEVILLE SUR ORNE.  This we did fairly easily although we met sniper opposition en route.

 

Sgt. Watt was the Bren Gunner of the leading section and became attached to "C" Squadron who were ahead of us.  They had already handed over their L.M.Gs. to the seaborne infantry, and in view of the sniper activity O.C. "C" Squadron placed Sgt. Watt and S/Sgt. Jones out on the right flank to protect the passage of the column.  Whilst here he accounted for five German Snipers and assisted the Squadron through.

 

When he saw that the troops were safe he withdrew to the road only to find that sappers had mined the verges.  A half hour later he was extricated.  By this time Sgt. Watt had lost the main column ("D" Squadron having been diverted along a different route).  He accordingly made his way to the beach where he was placed on board a T.L.C. - H.M.S. Glengareth.  Here he assisted the A.A. Gunners to maintain his weapon during an air-raid, and whilst firing the gun himself had a direct hit on an attacking J.U.88.

 

In the meantime "D" Squadron had reached the beaches and were successfully brought back to England.

 

Casualties - Killed - 1 Officer, 2 N.C.Os.

                   Injured - 1 Officer.

 

(Signed) J. A. Morrison, Capt.

 

 

Appendix "M"

WAR DIARY: 23 FLIGHT

 

6 Jun 44.  2113 hrs.  The following crews took off from R.A.F. Fairford with troops and equipment of the 6th Airborne Division, A/Tank Bty. R.A. and Devon Regiment.

 

Take off order (in Sqn.)

Glider Operation No.

1st Pilot.

2nd Pilot.

3.

188

Capt. J.C. Hyson

Sgt. Ireland

4.

189

S/Sgt. Turvey

Sgt. Stanley

5.

190

Lt. Bewley

Sgt. Pickford

6.

191

S/Sgt. Browne

Sgt. Hall

7.

192

S/Sgt. Sant

Sgt. O'Brian

8.

193

S/Sgt. Cartlidge

Sgt. Lyon

9.

194

S/Sgt. Ellin

Sgt. Sargent

10.

195

S/Sgt. Evans

Sgt. Crossland

11.

198

S/Sgt. Moss

Sgt. Roberts

12.

196

S/Sgt. Derry

Sgt. Midgeley

13.

199

S/Sgt. Martin

Sgt. Roscoe

14.

205

S/Sgt. Cawthray

Sgt. Thomas

15.

206

S/Sgt. Shuttlewood

Sgt. Johnson

16.

207

S/Sgt. Penketh

Sgt. Smithson

17.

208

S/Sgt. Clarke

Sgt. Willcox

18.

201

S/Sgt. King

Sgt. Bullock

 

6 Jun 44 circa 2109 hrs.  Glider No.189, S/Sgt. Turvey and Sgt. Stanley force-landed in the sea about 10 miles NORTH of Ouistreham, Normandy.

 

2115 hrs.  Gliders released in succession and over orchards SOUTH of Ouistreham, and landed on Landing Zone 'W'.  No lane or landing 'T' were observed by the greater part of the Flight, which made its landings from SOUTH to NORTH among the poles.  Each landing was successful, no injuries being sustained by pilots or loads, and every item of equipment carried was offloaded.  Most gliders crash-landed and difficulty was experienced in detaching the tails of the aircraft.

 

2230 hrs.  All crews reported to Flight HQ in area allocated in orchard R.V. IAN.  Section areas were taken up, fire plan co-ordinated, and slit trenches begun.

 

0430 hrs 7 Jun 44.  Dug position camouflaged.

 

0500 hrs.  Stand to.

 

0600 hrs.  Stand down.  Nothing to report.

 

0700 hrs.  Orders received to Stand by to move off to beaches at Ouistreham for embarkation to U.K.

 

0915 hrs.  (Approx).  Left RV IAN to proceed to beaches.

 

1000 hrs.  (Approx).  Advance held up by Snipers nest in village COLVILLE.

 

1030 hrs.  (Approx).  Advance to beaches resumed.

 

1100 hrs.  (Approx).  Arrived beaches Ouistreham.

 

1115 - 1130 hrs.  Embarkation on L.C.Is.

 

0900 hrs.  (Approx).  Disembarked Newhaven.  No casualties had been sustained from the moment of landing on LZ 'W' to arrival in U.K.

 

(Signed) J.C. Hyson Captain,

Commanding 23 Flight 'G' Squadron, G.P.R.

Fairford.

16 Jun 44.

 

 

Incident Report

O.C. 10 Fl. 'G' Squadron.

 

Date: 6 Jun 44

2115 - Arrived over L.Z.  No cleared lane, T's or identification letters visible.  Decided to land on North area of L.Z.

 

2116 - Landed safely.  2nd Pilot took up defensive position beneath glider whilst unloading was being carried out.  Noticed over gliders landing some from WEST to EAST others from SOUTH to NORTH.  Many gliders were being damaged by the poles, but pilots were managing to keep fuselage intact.  There was no ground opposition in this part of the L.Z. but according to reports there was a certain amount of sniping in the SOUTH of the L.Z.  One 2nd Pilot Sgt. Sephton was killed on landing probably by a stray bullet or splinter from our own mortar fire which was being 'put down' by the Warwicks in order to clear Germans from a nearby house.  This incident occurred in the SOUTH of the L.Z.  One glider was unable to stop after touching down and ran into a minefield.  Mines did not explode - no casualties.

 

2136 - Glider unloaded.  Myself and 2nd Pilot made for R.V.  No opposition en route.

 

2145 - Arrived R.V. located Fl. locality.  About six crews were already there.  One crew had commenced digging.  Others lying under trees at the 'ready'.  I allocated sec. positions - ordered no digging until arrival of more crews.  Crews were arriving at Fl. R.V. fairly rapidly and immediately reported to sec. position.

 

2200 - Flight complete except for about three crews which came in approximately hr late.  Sec. commenced digging slits.  Pilots who had landed in the SOUTH area of L.Z. reported they had been sniped at.  Sephton was reported killed when his 1st pilot arrived.  No opposition in area of R.V.  Firing could be heard in area of bridges.

 

2215 - Party of three N.C.Os. sent out to recce. gliders and locate any wounded.  None were found.  Party returned about 2255 hrs.

 

2300 - Lt. Corrie and two N.C.Os. departed for beach head to contact Beachmaster to arrange for departure of glider pilots by sea forthwith.  Slits not complete but deep enough to afford cover.  Certain amount of ground and air activity during the night the former in the area of bridges and the latter over the beach.

 

7 Jun 44

0300 - Digging was completed by this time and spoil was camouflaged before day-break.  100% manning of positions was dis-continued.  50% were ordered to remain on watch while 50% slept.

 

0430 - Dawn stand to.  No incidents.

 

0515 - Lt. Corrie returned in a 'ducklet'.

 

0800 - 5 Sec. departed with Lt. Corrie in transport for beachhead to act as guides.

 

0900 - Fl. moved off with Squadron for beachhead.  Slight sniping activity encountered en route - no casualties sustained.

 

1050 - Arrived at beachhead and embarked.  Ships dive bombed at approximately 1300.  No hits.

 

1600 - S/C for British port.

 

8 Jun 44

0900 - Debarked at Newhaven and proceeded to transit camp.  Fl. was complete.

 

1500 - Left transit camp for Depot.