2014年6月4日星期三

Chaos of D-Day revealed by newly released RAF reconnaissance planes that flew over the beaches as allies fought their way ashore



  • Fascinating photographs taken from the air show thousands of troops arriving on the beaches of Normandy

  • Pictures were taken 1000 feet above the coastline of northern France from inside a II (AC) Squadron Mustang

  • Photographs were used to gather information about the coastal terrain as well as monitor the invasion's progress

  • They were released to mark the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings, as veterans return to the invasion site


By John Hall



The RAF's unique view of D-Day has been revealed in a series of photographs released to mark the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings.


Taken 1000 feet above the coastline of northern France on June 6, 1944, the black and white reconnaissance images capture the moment thousands of troops arrived on the beaches as part of the largest seaborne invasion force in history.


Codenamed Operation Neptune, D-Day was a decisive victory for the Allied forces, and helped pave the wave way for victory over Nazi Germany the following year. Around 10,000 troops and civilians were believed to have been killed but the true figure has never been discovered.


Arrival: Taken 1000 feet above the coastline of northern France on June 6, 1944, the black and white reconnaissance images capture the moment thousands of troops arrived on Normandy's beaches as part of the largest seaborne invasion force in history

Arrival: Taken 1000 feet above the coastline of northern France on June 6, 1944, the black and white reconnaissance images capture the moment thousands of troops arrived on Normandy's beaches as part of the largest seaborne invasion force in history



Large ships can be seen further out to sea as dozens of smaller vessels arrive on the beach to drop off soldiers. Codenamed Operation Neptune, D-Day was a decisive victory for the Allied forces, and helped pave the wave way for victory over Nazi Germany the following year

Large ships can be seen further out to sea as dozens of smaller vessels arrive on the beach to drop off soldiers. Codenamed Operation Neptune, D-Day was a decisive victory for the Allied forces, and helped pave the wave way for victory over Nazi Germany the following year



Insight: The photographs show how the Normandy landings looked form the perspective of RAF aircraft. The images were released to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day

Insight: The photographs show how the Normandy landings looked form the perspective of RAF aircraft. The images were released to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day



Massive loss of life: Around 10,000 troops and civilians were believed to have been killed on D-Day but the true figure has never been discovered

Massive loss of life: Around 10,000 troops and civilians were believed to have been killed on D-Day but the true figure has never been discovered



The reconnaissance photographs were taken from a II (AC) Squadron Mustang, piloted by Air Commodore Andrew Geddes. Two other aircraft were also over the beaches when the first landing craft touched down.


The group used bulky cameras loaded to the bottom of the aircraft and took more than 30 sorties to take a panoramic image.


The photographs were released as the world prepares to mark the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings on Friday.


History: The reconnaissance photographs were taken from a II (AC) Squadron Mustang (like the one pictured here) on Tuesday June 6, 1944

History: The reconnaissance photographs were taken from a II (AC) Squadron Mustang (like the one pictured here) on Tuesday June 6, 1944




Similar plane: The II (AC) Squadron Mustang was piloted by Air Commodore Andrew Geddes. Two other aircraft were also using bulky cameras to take photographs over the Normandy beaches when the first landing craft touched down

Similar plane: The II (AC) Squadron Mustang was piloted by Air Commodore Andrew Geddes. Two other aircraft were also using bulky cameras to take photographs over the Normandy beaches when the first landing craft touched down




Hundreds of D-Day veterans and relatives of those that died will attend a series of events over the coming days.


Events to commemorate the historic invasion of northern France will take place across the UK and also around the pivotal beaches themselves - code-named Utah, Omaha, Sword, Gold and Juno.


An international flotilla of ships will sail through the channel to Normandy before an international ceremony on Sword Beach.


Ready to return: Hundreds of D-Day veterans and relatives of those that died will attend a series of events over the coming days. Events to commemorate the historic invasion of northern France will take place across the UK and also around the pivotal beaches themselves - code-named Utah, Omaha, Sword, Gold and Juno

Ready to return: Hundreds of D-Day veterans and relatives of those that died will attend a series of events over the coming days. Events to commemorate the historic invasion of northern France will take place across the UK and also around the pivotal beaches themselves - code-named Utah, Omaha, Sword, Gold and Juno



Veterans: Ronnie Firth, 94 (left) of the Royal Engineers 'Desert Rats' unit, (left) and Ernie Covill, 89, (right) of the Royal Army Service Corps pose at the memorial monument at the US cemetery in Colleville-Sur-Mer, in Normandy, France

Veterans: Ronnie Firth, 94 (left) of the Royal Engineers 'Desert Rats' unit, (left) and Ernie Covill, 89, (right) of the Royal Army Service Corps pose at the memorial monument at the US cemetery in Colleville-Sur-Mer, in Normandy, France



Laughter: Normandy Veterans Joe Cattini, 91, (left) and Denys Hunter, 90, (right) share a joke as prior to catching a ferry to France to take part in the anniversary events. The men were both in the same unit of Herefordshire Yeomanry on Gold Beach on D-Day and recently met up again for the first time in 70 years

Laughter: Normandy Veterans Joe Cattini, 91, (left) and Denys Hunter, 90, (right) share a joke as prior to catching a ferry to France to take part in the anniversary events. The men were both in the same unit of Herefordshire Yeomanry on Gold Beach on D-Day and recently met up again for the first time in 70 years



Getting prepared: A stage and covered seating is erected at Ouistreham Beach in northwestern France. Hundreds of D-Day veterans and relatives of those that died will attend a series of events in the area ahead of Friday's anniversary

Getting prepared: A stage and covered seating is erected at Ouistreham Beach in northwestern France. Hundreds of D-Day veterans and relatives of those that died will attend a series of events in the area ahead of Friday's anniversary



An helicopter flies over the site of Ouistreham Beach in northwestern France, as preparations are made for the upcoming D-Day commemorations

An helicopter flies over the site of Ouistreham Beach in northwestern France, as preparations are made for the upcoming D-Day commemorations



Commemoration: Former Allied soldiers are set to gather in Normandy this week. U.S. veteran Jack W Schlegel, 91, is pictured above teaching boys in Normandy about his role in the fighting

Commemoration: Former Allied soldiers are set to gather in Normandy this week. U.S. veteran Jack W Schlegel, 91, is pictured above teaching boys in Normandy about his role in the fighting



Memories: Mr Schlegel, who served in the 82nd Airborne unit of the U.S. Army, poses in front of a road which was named after him

Memories: Mr Schlegel, who served in the 82nd Airborne unit of the U.S. Army, poses in front of a road which was named after him



Practice: The events of this weekend in Normandy will be attended by leaders from all over the world

Practice: The events of this weekend in Normandy will be attended by leaders from all over the world



Recreation: Historical re-enactors, with authentic-looking vehicles and uniforms, are also preparing to mark the landings

Recreation: Historical re-enactors, with authentic-looking vehicles and uniforms, are also preparing to mark the landings



Services led by the British and the French will also be held at Bayeux Cathedral followed by an event at the Bayeux Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery.


Dignitaries including the Queen, as well as 650 British veterans of the conflict, will attend the events.


Diary of Second World War general who wrote off the week of the D-Day landings by scribbling a line through it


The engagements’ diary of a Second World War army general has revealed that he wrote off the week of the D-Day landings by scribbling a line through it.


General Sir Miles ‘Bimbo’ Dempsey made notes of top secret meetings he held with Allied commanders in the weeks and months leading up to and after the week beginning June 6, 1944 in the black book.


But the diary was mysteriously 'cleared' from the two pages covering Monday, June 5 through to Sunday, June 11, with a simple blue squiggly line across those dates.


The engagements' diary of a World War Two army general has revealed that he wrote off the week of the D-Day landings by scribbling a line through it. Sir Miles 'Bimbo' Dempsey made notes of top secret meetings he held with Allied commanders leading up to and after the week beginning June 6, 1944 in the black book

The engagements' diary of a World War Two army general has revealed that he wrote off the week of the D-Day landings by scribbling a line through it. Sir Miles 'Bimbo' Dempsey made notes of top secret meetings he held with Allied commanders leading up to and after the week beginning June 6, 1944 in the black book



A modest man, Sir Miles was one of the most important wartime generals but is almost completely unknown because of his determination to stay out of the limelight. Sir Miles is pictured (right) alongside King George VI (centre) and Field Marshal Montgomery (left)

A modest man, Sir Miles was one of the most important wartime generals but is almost completely unknown because of his determination to stay out of the limelight. Sir Miles is pictured (right) alongside King George VI (centre) and Field Marshal Montgomery (left)



It is not clear why Sir Miles erased the days, but for every day after the Allied invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe, Gen Dempsey marked in pencil ‘D+1’, ‘D+2’ and so on and also noted which divisions of his army had landed.


A modest man, Sir Miles was one of the most important wartime generals but is almost completely unknown because of his determination to stay out of the limelight.


He went from Major to General - in charge of half a million troops - in just six years, and was the first person since Agincourt to be knighted on the battlefield by the King himself.


His diary is among an archive of documents and photographs relating to the commander of the largest British Army in history to be released by his family - including several letters of congratulations sent by Generals Dwight Eisenhower and Montgomery for his martial success.


King George VI knighting Monty's second in command General Dempsey in Northern France 1944. The first occasion it had happened on a battlefield since Agincourt in 1415

King George VI knighting Monty's second in command General Dempsey in Northern France 1944. The first occasion it had happened on a battlefield since Agincourt in 1415



Montgomery (centre) standing with his four army generals, Dempsey, Hodges, Simpson and Crera during the Battle of the Bulge

Montgomery (centre) standing with his four army generals, Dempsey, Hodges, Simpson and Crera during the Battle of the Bulge



Andrew Currie, of auctioneers Bonhams, said: 'The Dempsey material offers a wonderful opportunity to highlight the career of a soldier who in many ways became the forgotten man of D-Day.


'The many warm letters of congratulations from Eisenhower and Montgomery show just how much they valued his calm leadership of the huge 2nd Army and in particular the way he approached the unglamorous task of pinning down the German troops and tanks in the immediate aftermath of D-Day.


'Unlike most of the senior figures involved in D-Day, General Dempsey did not write his memoires so the tributes from his fellow offices have a special significance.


'They speak loudly and impartially for the vitally important contribution he made both then and during the rest of the war in which he served with such distinction.


'General Dempsey was the focal point of one of the stranger episodes at the very end of the war when a delegation of high ranking German military personnel, acting on the authority of the interim German government, arrived at his HQ on June 3, 1945 to negotiate the German surrender.


'The set of four photographs recording this event is a vivid reminder of the chaos which surrounded the collapse of the German state after Hitler’s suicide on April 30.'



His diary is among an archive of documents and photographs relating to the commander of the largest British Army in history to be released by his family - including several letters of congratulations sent by General Dwight Eisenhower


And a signed photo of US army supremo Eisenhower in which he described 'Bimbo' as 'brilliant army commander of World War II' is included


His diary is among an archive of documents and photographs to be released by his family - including several letters of congratulations sent by General Dwight Eisenhower, right, along with a signed photograph



The collection also includes a rare order of service for a church service held on June 4, 1944, to say prayers for the tens of thousands of men about to take part in D-Day.


It also includes four unofficial photos of the moment the German high command tried to surrender to him at his headquarters in Germany on May 3, 1945.


General Demspey sent the German deputation away as, by protocol, they had to surrender to Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery, which they did the following day.


And a signed photo of US army supremo Eisenhower in which he described ‘Bimbo’ as ‘brilliant army commander of World War II’ is included.


He led the British 2nd Army in the Battle of Normandy, where his men occupied the German forces at Caen, allowing the Americans to push into northern France.


His family have decided to sell some of the wartime mementos ahead of the 70th anniversary of D-Day. The archive has a pre-sale estimate of almost £40,000.


Gen Dempsey retired from the army in 1957 and hunted and bred race horses. He died aged 72 in 1969. The auction takes place on June 26.


The engagements’ diary of a Second World War army general has revealed that he wrote off the week of the D-Day landings by scribbling a line through it.


Photographs showing the German deputation at General Sir Miles Dempsey's tactical headquarters on 3 May 1945

Photographs showing the German deputation at General Sir Miles Dempsey's tactical headquarters on 3 May 1945



General Sir Miles ‘Bimbo’ Dempsey made notes of top secret meetings he held with Allied commanders in the weeks and months leading up to and after the week beginning June 6, 1944 in the black book.


But the diary was mysteriously 'cleared' from the two pages covering Monday, June 5 through to Sunday, June 11, with a simple blue squiggly line across those dates.


It is not clear why Sir Miles erased the days, but for every day after the Allied invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe, Gen Dempsey marked in pencil ‘D+1’, ‘D+2’ and so on and also noted which divisions of his army had landed.


The mysterious gesture comes to light as hundreds of surviving D-Day veterans prepare to revisit the beaches of Normandy to mark the 70th anniversary of the landings.


Events to commemorate the historic invasion of northern France will take place across the UK and also around the pivotal beaches themselves - code-named Utah, Omaha, Sword, Gold and Juno.


Dignitaries including the Queen, as well as 650 British veterans of the conflict, will visit France for events.


A modest man, Sir Miles was one of the most important wartime generals but is almost completely unknown because of his determination to stay out of the limelight.

He went from Major to General - in charge of half a million troops - in just six years, and was the first person since Agincourt to be knighted on the battlefield by the King himself.


His diary is among an archive of documents and photographs relating to the commander of the largest British Army in history to be released by his family - including several letters of congratulations sent by Generals Dwight Eisenhower and Montgomery for his martial success.











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