Thursday, December 8, 2016

Audio: F. Turnbull, C.H. Roach - D-Day Normandy

"I Can Remember Letting Down the Ramp"

Landing Ship, Tank (LST) aground on Sword Beach, Normandy, 6 June 1944.
Photo Credit - Cyril Roach, as found at The Memory Project

Introduction: One will find hundreds of audio files related to the experiences of men and women associated with many branches of Canadian Armed Forces and Canadian organizations (e.g., Red Cross, CWAC, etc.) at The Memory Project. Most audio files are accompanied by authentic WW2 photos and a written transcript.

The two audio files presented here relate to two men in the Navy (one in the RN) closely linked to landing craft and, very likely for both, the Combined Operations organization.

Please link to the audio file that recalls the memories of Fred Turnbull.

From the audio transcript we read, in part:

As we got close to the beach.... at Normandy we were about seven miles off the beach. So going in, we didn’t have too much responsibility as a bowman. But as we got closer to the beach, I had to get ready, as a bowman, to let down the ramp at the proper time. So I would let the ramp down, and the idea was that the troops would go down the ramp as quickly as possible.

Mr. Turnbull goes on to explain his work with anti-broaching lines and their purpose. Canadians in Combined Ops would know the procedure by heart.

Please link to the audio file that recalls the memories of Cyril H. Roach

From his audio transcript we read the following:

I went through training and I became an engineer officer aboard an LST, which was a double-decker landing ship, which was used at the time of our landings in France....

On D-Day, we arrived in France, having left the Isle of Wight on the night of the 5th of June, about 11 o’clock. We arrived off of Le Havre.... the point where troops were landing, with the objective of Caen. On landing, the ship dropped the anchor a half a mile out and we then put full speed ahead onto the beaches, so that we were able to land the troops and light equipment, which supported also part of the [British] 6th Airborne Division, as well as other contingents of the army.

Mr. Roach (RN) describes "being shelled very heavily" and seeing thousands of aircraft above him. He remembers the moment when three Messerschmitts strafed nearby beaches, killing many troops and injuring men (including himself) aboard the LST. He makes a point of saying, "my crew were actually Canadians from out west. And they did an excellent job."

British landing ships moving troops upriver to Paknam, near Bangkok.
Photo Credit - Cyril Roach, as found at The Memory Project

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