Dad was not sure what day he went in, or just what day. He thought it was Utah on about day 2.5 or 3. Drove a Deuce & 1/2 truck off an LST. By then, Spousal Dad had been inland with a bunch of British Gliders as the 101st Airborne Liaison. They would later be in close proximity as the Combat Engineers were busy blowing up obstacles and building bridges for the folks already ashore to move about. There was one push toward Cherbourg where I’m pretty sure my Dad built / secured the bridge her Dad crossed, so they may have been in line of sight at one point.
Eventually Dad rebuilt the port at Cherbourg (along with a few hundred others ;-) and then got to cross France laying down, and lifting up, various landmines and disarming German booby traps. Blowing up bridges and building bridges (depending on direction of fortunes of war…)
Spousal Dad got detached from his unit in battle, and got reattached to the 82nd Airborne and jumped as a paratrooper in the attempt to take Arnhem.
Not many folks did all of Gliders, land attacks, and paratrooper. The 101st Airborne who were trained for gliders mostly went in on the beaches. Then most folks were in a Glider unit or a Paratroop unit, not swapping between them. One small complication of his transfer from 101st to 82nd is that if asked which is the superior force, I can only answer “Yes!”.
But one thing has annoyed me over the years. Just not knowing why in heck the beaches were named as they were. Omaha and Utah I figured were just USA Places so USA beaches. But Juno? Sword? (Maybe something to do with ancient battle gear?) Gold?
Well now I know.
The British Beaches were named for Fish, originally. Swordfish, Goldfish, Jellyfish, and Bandfish. What? No Jelly? Not heard of Band Beach? Well there’s an interesting story there.
Seems when they dropped the word “fish” from the names, the Canadians rightly said they did not want to die on a beach named “Jelly”… so that was changed to Juno. Further, the 6 th beach, Band, was for an optional Commando Raid if they needed to further protect the flank of the other beaches. When that proved to be unnecessary, the Commandos were not sent in there.
Learned from this Mark Felton video:
“Our Finest Hour”…