Staff-Sergeant R. T. Jolliffe
Unit : "D" Squadron, No.1 Wing, The Glider Pilot Regiment
Army No. : 958807
Staff-Sergeant Jolliffe and his second pilot, Sergeant A. Prentice, flew to Normandy with the first glider lift in the early hours of the 6th June, carrying a Jeep, 6-pounder anti-tank gun and three 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"
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. ½ 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. [Battery Headquarters] for about 3½ 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.
Back to The Glider Pilot Regiment
Back to Biographies Menu