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Old 06-06-2018, 10:06 AM   #1
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Lest we forget ....

68 years ago, the Allies landed at Normandy. I was rather surprised to see zero mention of it in the big internet news sites or in the papers. D-Day was not just the action itself, but what it represented to the world and the US. Worth a moment of reflection.

If you're looking for a different and little known aspect of D-Day, google "coast guard matchbox fleet" - wooden 83' gas (2,000 gallons of 100 octane) boats assigned waterborne rescue duty for the invasion. They also served in sub chaser and plane guard duty in other theaters. Iron men and wooden ships.

Wheeler Yachts (then Wheeler Shipyard) built the 83 footers. Same company that built Hemingway's Pilar. Wheeler is still around (new name to me, probably familiar to the old salts here) and building an updated Pilar. History - Wheeler Yacht Company

I'm going to smuggle a cold brew to my 91 year old neighbor this afternoon who says he got to Normandy "late" - they already had the Mulberry's installed when he showed up. All he did (his words) was the Hurtgen Forest and Rhine campaigns as a 17 year old after faking his way into the Army at 16.
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Old 06-06-2018, 10:33 AM   #2
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I haven’t forgotten. There’s a chap called “Norm” down the street. Still quite spry. He was with the “North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment” from the landing through to the end of the war. He was 18 when he landed at Juno Beach. He has some tales to tell!

Jim
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Old 06-06-2018, 10:43 AM   #3
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My uncle was a glider pilot on the night before the landings - said re refused to let them put a jeep in his glider because he did not think it could be secured for landing - he was right - many pilots were killed when jeeps broke loose and rolled out the front of the gliders. When I was in MBA school in Dallas in late 70's I joined him for a glider pilot reunion in Dallas - cool bunch of guys! Not too many survived - many gliders crashed into the stone hedge rows around the farm fields in Normandy.
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Old 06-06-2018, 10:56 AM   #4
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Mom is 95 and was one of only three companies of Canadian Women's Army Corps. to be sent overseas. She was Signal Corps. and was originally tasked to HMCS Sioux to relay signals from the beach to London but then it was decided that no women could be that close to the action. She ended up at Cdn. Army HQ in London receiving the signals. Her Comments: "I don't see why not, the Germans bombed us in London every night for several years. Not a he11 of a lot of difference."
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Old 06-06-2018, 11:23 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by sbu22 View Post
68 years ago, the Allies landed at Normandy. I was rather surprised to see zero mention of it in the big internet news sites or in the papers. D-Day was not just the action itself, but what it represented to the world and the US. Worth a moment of reflection.

If you're looking for a different and little known aspect of D-Day, google "coast guard matchbox fleet" - wooden 83' gas (2,000 gallons of 100 octane) boats assigned waterborne rescue duty for the invasion. They also served in sub chaser and plane guard duty in other theaters. Iron men and wooden ships.

Wheeler Yachts (then Wheeler Shipyard) built the 83 footers. Same company that built Hemingway's Pilar. Wheeler is still around (new name to me, probably familiar to the old salts here) and building an updated Pilar. History - Wheeler Yacht Company

I'm going to smuggle a cold brew to my 91 year old neighbor this afternoon who says he got to Normandy "late" - they already had the Mulberry's installed when he showed up. All he did (his words) was the Hurtgen Forest and Rhine campaigns as a 17 year old after faking his way into the Army at 16.
...74 years ago. Time flies. My flag is out front of my house!
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Old 06-06-2018, 12:52 PM   #6
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My grandfather was a BAR gunner in the Army who served in WW2. I always assumed that he saw action in Europe, but as I later found out, he was with the Americal Division fighting in Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Leyte Gulf and the Solomon Islands, island hopping in the Pacific. He received two Purple Hearts and two Bronze Stars for his service.

I ended up joining the Marines (hence my user name ddare0351, 0351 being my MOS) and served in the early stages of the Iraq War. I was hoping to talk to Grandpa about his wartime service but he passed before I had the opportunity.

PTSD is a very real thing. I've had some struggles with it. Apparently he had his struggles too, though I never heard so from him. My mom told me he had a mental breakdown after one of my uncles enlisted during the height of the Vietnam War (that uncle didn't see combat service and spent his enlistment in Okinawa). Grandpa was reassigned at his job and later laid off while he was undergoing some kind of treatment.

As it relates to D-Day, while the invasion of Iraq wasn't nearly as large scale of an operation as D-Day, I can sorta comprehend what folks in those Higgins boats were feeling. I was in an AAV with my squad breeching the border into Iraq. The plan was for the AAVs to crash through a cinder block wall and drop the landing ramp. We were all buttoned up and couldn't see shit, just hear lots of commotion over the radio and all the combined arms explosions (air, artillery, tanks).

Right before we crash into the cinder block wall, our platoon sergeant tells us that there are 103 T-55 tanks in position. I was a member of an assault team, which is the anti-tank element of a Marine infantry unit. I thought I was done for. As it turns out, he misheard the comm traffic (or someone passed bum scoop), there were only 3 T-55s and they were immobile, dug in and abandoned. We secured our 1st objective, the Az Zubayr oil fields, receiving only sporadic small arms fire and having no casualties. After that we were on cloud nine.
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Old 06-06-2018, 01:00 PM   #7
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My dad was 101st infantry. My uncle was 82nd infantry. My other uncle was with a tank division. All 3 survived. over 10,000 soldiers died on that day. God Bless those guys and gals.
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Old 06-06-2018, 04:58 PM   #8
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Amen to all the above comments. Our flag proudly flies today.
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Old 06-06-2018, 06:35 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by FoxtrotCharlie View Post
My uncle was a glider pilot on the night before the landings - said re refused to let them put a jeep in his glider because he did not think it could be secured for landing - he was right - many pilots were killed when jeeps broke loose and rolled out the front of the gliders. When I was in MBA school in Dallas in late 70's I joined him for a glider pilot reunion in Dallas - cool bunch of guys! Not too many survived - many gliders crashed into the stone hedge rows around the farm fields in Normandy.

I also had an uncle who flew gliders. His group wasn't involved in D-day but he participated in a few operations afterwards, the last of which killed him when he was shot after his successful landing.
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Old 06-06-2018, 06:44 PM   #10
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The greatest generation.
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Old 06-06-2018, 07:42 PM   #11
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The invasion of Normandy yes was today. If I only could speak with my grandparents now about so many things I never thought of then.
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Old 06-06-2018, 08:16 PM   #12
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Dad was a tanker (Sherman’s) in Normandy and Holland.

Mum was at Bletchley (as we found out in the ‘70s after she was released from her “Official Secrets Act” obligations) .....even the old man was not aware!

Different times.

Great post Guru.
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Old 06-06-2018, 08:48 PM   #13
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My father had his 18th birthday aboard a troop ship bound for the European theater. His contract was for two years or the duration and six months. After his two years were almost up the Nazis surrendered and he was stuck in Germany for six months occupation duty. He said that duty was worse than the actual war.



He was a radio man for an artillery spotter in a canon company. Always with the spotter on the front line. Always under fire carrying the 65lb radio and battery. Always radioing coordinates for the 105mm mountain howitzers that were barely 1/2 mile behind them.



He was one of the original card carrying "Sons of Bitche".
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Old 06-06-2018, 08:48 PM   #14
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Remembering

Dad went through Sicily and Italy, Uncle Bucky was a B-24 pilot with 25 missions, and yes, my Boat Bucky is named after him.
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Old 06-06-2018, 09:46 PM   #15
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I know this was written during WW I, but it is one of the most poignant poems I have ever read about servicemen who paid the ultimate price. I thought I'd share it here in case anyone is not familiar with it. ( It is from this poem that the tradition of wearing poppies on Memorial Day was started )

In Flanders Fields by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place, and in the sky,
The larks, still bravely singing, fly,
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead; short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe!
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high!
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
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Old 06-06-2018, 10:04 PM   #16
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Great post, Ben!

That Poem is always read at Remembrance Day services in Canada ...November 11.

Some bio re Lieutenant Colonel McRae:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_McCrae
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Old 06-06-2018, 10:13 PM   #17
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My father landed on Normandy on D-day got a shattered eardrum from a nearby shell. An uncle lost his leg on Normandy. When I asked him how he lost his leg he said it wasn't lost; he knew exactly where it was.
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Old 06-06-2018, 10:17 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Benthic2 View Post
I know this was written during WW I, but it is one of the most poignant poems I have ever read about servicemen who paid the ultimate price. I thought I'd share it here in case anyone is not familiar with it. ( It is from this poem that the tradition of wearing poppies on Memorial Day was started )

In Flanders Fields by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place, and in the sky,
The larks, still bravely singing, fly,
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead; short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe!
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high!
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
If you ever get the opportunity to visit the 1st WW sites in northern France and Belgium, do so.
Flanders, where the cemetery in which the above poem is prominently displayed is only one of the many heart wrenching sites memorializing the terrible cost in lives of the War to End All Wars.
At Ypres, visit the city gates at the "sunset ceremony" where the best buglers you will ever hear play taps every evening at 17:30 and where you can read the names chiseled into the walls, of the soldiers who lost their lives there but whose bodies were not identified.
At Vimy, visit the Canadian monument, built to commemorate the sacrifices of so many Canadian soldiers who struggled to capture that small victory in that terrible war.
Then go on to Normandy, where the monuments are less spectacular, but the stories told are the same.
Makes one stop and think, and praise our father's generation who fought for us, so we wouldn't have to.
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Old 06-07-2018, 05:00 AM   #19
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Hi,
If you look on pages 4/5 of Harbour chat by Irish Rambler you'll see some photo's of the 'D' landing sites at Normandy.
If you also care to look at the post 'Windmills and Wine' you will see photo's of Ypres, the ceremony and points of interest.
The Australian war memorial is shown in the post 'Paddy's Flyin'.
I don't mean to hog the posts but some of you may be unaware of the photo's that may be of interest to like minded people.
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Old 06-07-2018, 07:42 AM   #20
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Hi,
If you look on pages 4/5 of Harbour chat by Irish Rambler you'll see some photo's of the 'D' landing sites at Normandy.
If you also care to look at the post 'Windmills and Wine' you will see photo's of Ypres, the ceremony and points of interest.
The Australian war memorial is shown in the post 'Paddy's Flyin'.
I don't mean to hog the posts but some of you may be unaware of the photo's that may be of interest to like minded people.
Ran out of fingers and toes, Gigg. At least I got the date right.
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