Monday, December 12, 2016

Audio: Francis Hammond, Navy - Commando Training for D-Day

Commando Training? Why? I'm a Signalman! 

Commandos doing log Physical Training, Commando Basic Training Centre,
Achnacarry, Inverness-shire, 1943. Photo - National Army Museum

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 audio file presented here relates to Francis Hammond, Navy. He served aboard the 262nd Canadian Landing Craft Flotilla during D-Day Normandy and tells about taking Commando training while in S. England in preparation for D-Day.

The badge on his jacket suggests he was closely linked to the Combined Operations organization.

Photo Credit - Historica Canada at The Memory Project

Please link to the audio file that recalls the memories of F. Hammond.

From the audio transcript we read, in part:

We took training in different parts along the English coast. Some of them were in Portsmouth, some trained in Southampton. We picked up our landing craft, a part of the 262nd Flotilla in Falmouth, on the southern, very southern tip of England, and we trained there all, from 1943 right up until June 1944, getting the landing craft in, in condition, and took commando training in Falmouth, England. To this day I remember that training because I was reluctant to go and couldn't figure out why, as a signalman, I would need commando training. And I remember being told by this chief gunner’s mate that, “You're going to take the training and you're going to learn to kill.” I said, “Well, I don't know why I would have to take that training to kill anybody, when I'm only a signalman. I don't plan on going too far ashore from the landing craft.” “Well,” he says, “it's either a case of you learn to kill or be killed. Take your pick.” So I took the training.

Landing craft (LCI-Ls) of the 264th Canadian Flotillas, Normandy 

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

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