What Makes a Day the Longest Day?

British troops arrive in Normandy early in the morning on June 6, 1944 and are still at work by midnight. All the while they have endured withering hostile fire from German defenders.

Wading in the water, from their landing crafts to the beach, many Brits die on D-Day. Those who survive have memories of a smell, described by I.G. Holley, a wireless operator in B Company, 1st Battalion, Royal Hampshire Regiment:

A sweet rancid smell is everywhere, never forgotten by those who smell it - burnt explosives, torn flesh and ruptured earth.

What does I.G. Holley’s recollection tell you about the events which took place at Gold Beach on D-Day?

How can something be “sweet” and “rancid” at the same time?

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