Post by Dave Homewood on Jun 6, 2006 11:58:16 GMT 12
Today marks the 62nd anniversary of D Day, the Allied invasion of Europe.
Of course there were lots of D Days in WWII, especialy in the Pacific, but no airborne and seaborne invasions are more so connected with the title than the Normandy Invasion on the 5th/6th of June 1944.
Around 10,000 New Zealanders were involved, mainly in the RAF and the Royal Navy. Particularly active were No. 485 Sqn who's aircraft scored the first two German planes over the beaches, the first going to Johnny Houton DFC in Spitfire ML407.
No. 75 Sqn was also active, bombing the beachheads, as were 486, 487 and 489 Sqns, the latter in the anti-shipping role I believe. It wasn't long before 488's nightfighters were also active in the arena.
A new book is being launched today, 'The Big Show' edited by Alison Parr, who has interviewed 13 NZ airmen and sailors about their roles in the invasion that set Europe on the track to freedom.
(be quick, it'll be gone in a few days. I haven't listened to the whole thing yet but apparently there are some actual audio interviews with veterans in this piece)
I know Alison Parr interviewed Russell Clark, who has Cambridge connections and so I too have interviewed him. Great bloke, 485 Sqn D Day veteran. He flew the alternate watch to Houlton's crew, and said he saw nothing in the skies over the beaches. I'm unsure if his story is in the book.