D Day

Members Reminiscences

By Ernest Baker



Members Reminiscences


The sixth of June this year will be the 66th anniversary of ‘D’ day. ‘D’ day was when Britain and America invaded France , all members of the armed forces had for many months been preparing for this day.

As a member of the Royal Air Force I was stationed at Portreath near Redruth in Cornwall , on the rare occasions we had time off some of us would go to Truro and walk down by the River Fal or hire a rowing boat.

Over a few months of our time spent there we noticed some strange contraptions moored along the banks of the river, the number of these increased on visit we made there. Following ‘D’ day we found out these contraptions joined up to create what was called the ‘ Mulberry Harbour ’ this was used to berth and unload men and machines including tanks onto the French shores.


At Portreath Aerodrome we had spent most of the day prior to ‘D’ day (6th June) painting broad bands of black and white on the wings of all the aircraft at the aerodrome, those of us that were based there were puzzled as to why so many people were there that day and who they were, one of them was spotted to be a CO! Most of us had only previously seen the top of his hat before over the heads of others when we were on parades.

We didn’t know that most of these aircraft would be used the very next day with hundreds of others painted with the same markings, all these had been prepared for their own safety when they took part in the ‘D’ day landings, the idea was to clearly show the forces manning the anti aircraft guns and other British sites that aircraft with these markings were friendly rather than foe, also of course that was the reason it had to be completed so quickly the day before.


When I went on leave some time later to Brighton my family told me that prior to ‘D’ day there had been swarms (if that’s the right word) of combat vehicles crowding the streets of Brighton and Hove, also that from late afternoon on the fourth of June there was a lot of movement and that by midday the following day all the men and vehicles had disappeared ‘D’ day had begun        

This page was added on 19/02/2010.