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Normandy Invasion - BRITS LAND AT GOLD BEACH

BRITS LAND AT GOLD BEACH (Illustration) Famous Historical Events Geography History Social Studies World War II

In this photograph, from the Imperial War Museum (IWM), we see an aerial view of “Gold Beach” as it appeared on D-Day (June 6, 1944). The IWM provides a description for its photo MH 24887: “Oblique aerial of 'King Green' and 'Jig' Beaches GOLD Area between Mont Fleury and le Hamel, during the landing of 50th (Northumbrian) Division, 6 June 1944.” Crown Copyright expired.

 

At 0725 hours on the morning of June 6th, the first British troops landed on Gold Beach.

I.G. Holley, a wireless operator in B Company, 1st Battalion, Royal Hampshire Regiment, summarizes what he (and others) saw as they came ashore:

The long line of beach lay ahead and immediately behind hung a thick pall of smoke as far as the eye could see, with the flashes of bursting shells and rockets pock-marking it along the whole front. We had the word from the Suby [the Royal Navy Sub Lieutenant commanding their LCA] to get ready and the tension was at its peak when we hit bottom, down goes the ramp, out goes the captain with me close behind. We were in the sea to the tops of our thighs. Floundering ashore, we were in the thick of it.

Once the men were in the water, wading ashore, what happened?

To the right and left the other assault platoons were hitting the beach. Mortar bombs and shells erupting the sand and the 'breep - brurp' of Spandau machineguns cutting through the din. There were no shouts, everyone knew his job and was doing it without saying a word. There was only the occasional cry of despair as men were hit and went down.

The beach was filled with half-bent running figures - from experience, we knew that the safest place was as near to Jerry [slang for German soldiers] as we could get. A near one blasts sand all over me and my radio set goes dead (during a quiet period later on, I find that shrapnel has riddled my set, and that also a part of my tunic collar has gone). A sweet rancid smell is everywhere, never forgotten by those who smell it - burnt explosives, torn flesh and ruptured earth.

By midnight of "the longest day," 25,000 British troops who landed on Gold Beach had established a beachhead wide enough to link up with the Canadians on Juno.

About 1,000 men were killed in the effort.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5124stories and lessons created

Original Release: May 01, 2004

Updated Last Revision: May 07, 2015


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"BRITS LAND AT GOLD BEACH" AwesomeStories.com. May 01, 2004. Oct 23, 2017.
       <https://www.awesomestories.com/asset/view/140601>.
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