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D-Day 75

4 June 2019

This week sees the 75th anniversary of D-Day during which a number of commemorative events are scheduled, both in Britain and France, to remember the largest seaborne invasion force in history which set sail for France on a mission to liberate Europe from the Nazis. Many of the events have been organised by the Imperial War Museum and centre around three of their historic sites: HMS Belfast, IWM Duxford, and the Churchill War rooms. They include flight displays, family activities, tours, trails and more. To find out more go to the Imperial War Museum website:

On the 6th June 1944, Allied Forces crossed the English Channel and landed on the beaches of Normandy as part of Operation Overlord. The naval assault, Operation Neptune, resulted in the landing of 132,000 ground troops on the five Normandy beaches codenamed Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword. At the same time Allied aerial forces dropped 18,000 paratroopers into the invasion area and provided tactical support for the ground troops having established air supremacy over the Luftwaffe prior to the invasion.

For a real feel of what it was like on that day in history, you can read the moving stories of three Chelsea Pensioners who were involved in the D-Day Landings here.

There are also a range of books available in the Calibre Library which range from historical examinations of the military operation, such as D-Day the Battle for Normandy by Anthony Beevor to the highly personal account of Chris Tarrant’s father’s war in Dad’s War: Father, Soldier, Hero:

Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose 10719

From their rigorous training in Georgia in 1942 to D-Day and victory, this is the remarkable story of Easy Company, who kept getting the tough assignments. They were responsible for everything from parachuting into France early D-Day morning to the capture of Hitler's Eagle's Nest at Berchtesgaden.

The Cruel Victory by Paddy Ashdown 10214

As the Allied troops stormed the D-Day beaches, the Vercors rose up to fight in a planned rearguard action. It was to prove not only the largest Resistance action of the war but also the most brutal crushing of resistance forces in Western Europe. The tragedy placed the Vercors deep into the history of modern France which resonates still in the country’s daily life and politics.

Dad’s War: Father, Soldier, Hero by Chris Tarrant 13107

Chris Tarrant and his father Basil were very close, but it was only after his Basil's death that he realised he hardly knew him at all. In an emotional journey, Chris discovers that Basil was involved in some of WWII's most significant campaigns, including the Dunkirk evacuation, the D-Day landings and also took part in some of the most brutal, close-range fighting in Cleve.

D-Day the Battle for Normandy by Antony Beevor 8935

The Normandy Landings that took place on D-Day involved by far the largest invasion fleet ever known. Making use of overlooked and new material from over 30 archives in half a dozen countries, this is the most vivid and well-researched account yet of the battle of Normandy.

Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies by Ben Macintyre 9712

A captivating narrative of the spies who wove a web so intricate it ensnared Hitler's army and carried thousands of D-Day troops across the channel to safety.

From Dachau to D-Day: The Refugee Who Fought for Britain by Helen Fry 8755

The incredible story of Willy Field, born Willy Hirschfeld, a German concentration camp survivor who became a British soldier. Willy chose to fight for Britain against the country of his birth in order to give something back to the British for saving his life, and never regretted being part of the D-Day invasion despite suffering personal losses.