Staff-Sergeant F. Stevenson
Unit : "D" Squadron, No.1 Wing, The Glider Pilot Regiment
Army No. : 551667
Staff-Sergeant Stevenson and his co-pilot, Lieutenant S. J. D. Moorwood, flew to Normandy with the first glider lift in the early hours of the 6th June, carrying a Jeep, gun and men of the 4th Airlanding Anti-Tank Battery. The following is his official report on the flight and the subsequent events that took place on the ground.
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 [Anti-Tank] 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. [Landing Zone] There was a certain amount of light Ack Ack fire, a few rockets and some fire from L.M.Gs. [Light Machine Guns]
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 [in-command] 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.
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