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Digital Subscriptions > Family Tree > Family Tree June 2019 > D-Day memories

D-Day memories

This year marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Today it’s on the cusp of history within living memory, part of our shared cultural legacy, but also part of the very personal memories of the people who lived and fought through those times. John Leete gathers together anecdotes from those who experienced the build up to and launch of D-Day from Britain’s Home Front

OUR ANCESTORS REMEMBER

Royal Marine Commandos landing on Sword Beach

This brief selection of anecdotes and accounts has been drawn from a mix of people who experienced life on Britain’s Home Front during the months up to D-Day 1944.

I am very honoured to have been in the company of the wonderful people who told me their stories. Stories told with humility, passion, emotion and laughter.

Those last few hours of waiting…

In the Signallers’ Office situated in the basement of Exbury House, on the south coast of England, Jean Gadston, a ‘Wren’ – WRNS (Women’s Royal Naval Service) – was responsible for typing up the D-Day instructions for the Fleet: ‘The establishment by then was sealed and although there was a false start on June 5th, on the morning of the 6th, I passed the order to the flotilla in the Solent and in Southampton Water and to the Landing Craft in the Beaulieu River to “sail”.’

All hell let loose when the orders came through from Headquarters, that General Eisenhower had given the Go to the invasion. My then fiancé went out on D-Day. News came through later that he had been killed

Marion Loveland, also a WRNS, was stationed at HMS Collingwood: ‘It was quiet on 5th June and I was hoping the next 24 hours would be the same. It was my birthday on 6th June, and I wanted to have a little celebration if I could. It was not to be. All hell let loose when the orders came through from Headquarters, that General Eisenhower had given the Go to the invasion. My then fiancé went out on D-Day. News came through later that he had been killed.’

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About Family Tree

What is it about family history that's captured your imagination? Whether you're seeking the story of your WW2 veterans who fought at D-Day, or tracing your tree across continents to bring your family back together again, we've got a host of advice and tales to help and inspire you: 1. Gen up on your ancestors' role in D-Day (75 years ago this June). 2. Discover how to use DNA, combined with the paper records, to trace family worldwide. 3. Learn about the top 10 genealogy sins - and how to repent and become a better family history sleuth! Plus DNA tips, reader stories, expert advice on your questions and brickwalls, and so much more... - including that all-important topic of 'How to write your family history'! Enjoy