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 400,000+ annual visits & 6 million hits to 180  webpages & 3000 photos.  News and Information at the bottom of this and every web page.

Please 'like' the Combined Operations Command Memorial on Facebook in remembrance of all who served their country.

 ~ POETRY ~

The Normandy Landings; D-Day

Normandy

by

Juno Veteran

Cyril Crain 

 

 

 

Photo of Cyril Crain at the Combined Operations Command Memorial Dedication Ceremony on July 4th 2013 at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

Image below of David A Thorp's painting "Combined Operations Command - A Normandy Beachhead" which graphically reminds us of the hazardous conditions that prevailed during the initial assault phase of Operation Neptune, the amphibious part of Operation Overlord. For a detailed explanation of the actions portrayed in the painting, visit our interactive version of the image.

Come and stand in memory
Of men who fought and died
They gave their lives in Normandy
Remember them with pride.
 
Soldiers, Airman, sailors
Airborne and marines
Who in civvy life were tailors
and men who worked machines.
 
British and Canadian
And men from USA
Forces from the Commonwealth
They all were there that day
 
To Juno, Sword and Utah
Beaches of renown
Also Gold and Omaha
Thatís where the ramps went down.
 
The battle raged in Normandy
Many lives were lost
The war must end in victory
And this must be the cost
 
When my life is over
And I reach the other side
Iíll meet my friends from Normandy
And shake their hands with pride.


              Normandy 44

 

                               by

 

                         Phil Pead

 

 

Their bodies and parachutes hung from the trees
Near a church tower in Normandy at St Mere Eglise
Eighty Second Airborne from a tracer filled sky
The dice roll of fate choosing those who would die
 

There are hundreds and hundreds on Omaha Beach
The cliff tops above them now forever out of reach
With mortars and machines guns and 88s as well
Itís a wonder that any couldíve lived through that hell
 

Gliders troops from the Sixth took the bridges at Orne
But some never saw that first breaking of dawn
They held out through daylight as the Panzers attacked
But they never retreated, they never fell back
 

The Eagles were screaming as they took Carentan
They didnít all make it, but the Germans, they ran
Clearing the streets as the mortar shells burst
Dying in scores were the Hundred and First
 

Canadians that fought near the town of Courseulles
Torn up and mangled by huge jerry shells
They all knew the danger, some knew that theyíd fall
As they ran through the bullets to breach the sea wall
 

British Commandos at Ouistreham, Queen Red
The bridgehead they took there was paid for in dead
Advancing inland as the day carried on
Fewer and fewer with a lot of mates gone
 

If you visit years later and hear the sea roar
Donít forget those who went there in June 44
For all those that fought there and the many that died
Appreciate your Freedom and Remember them with  Pride.


Little Ships

       (Unknown)

It was a quarter to six, on the morning in June
When the little ships took to the sea
Loaded with men of all nations
The "Vanguard", to set the world free

They were guarded aloft by the Air-Force
And covered each side by the fleet
Each clad-man was sure of his task
In smashing the foe he would meet

The sea was white-crested and angry
As the little craft closed into line
But the Royal Marines who were forming the crew
Were undaunted, by wave-top or brine

For more than eight miles they struggled
To keep their formations intact
And when close to shore, where they came under fire
Neither mortar, nor shell, held them back

They all heard the fire of the big naval guns
And the shells that were screaming o'erhead
Exploding with roars, midst the enemy ranks
And strewing the fore-shore with dead

As these tiny craft beached at seven twenty five
That same morning on Normandy shore
To a person who watched could plainly be seen
That freedom was saved "Evermore"

As the allied troops swept up the beaches
Those small craft again faced the sea
Save those craft that were sunk by gunfire or stake
And had perished for "Liberty"

Any now the Invasion is over
And soon will be talked of no more
Still, I know that "Glenearn" will never forget
That day, June the sixth, forty four

[HMS Glenearn was a mother ship that carried minor Landing Craft, their crews and human cargos from UK waters to 8 miles or so off the Normandy coast where they were lowered into the water to make their way to the landing beaches under their own power. This poem was received with thanks from Myles Sutherland. If anyone knows who the poet was please let us know via "Contact Us" in the page banner.]



D-Day Landings

b
y

The late Tony Chapman, archivist/historian for the LST and Landing Craft Association (Royal Navy).

Keep Moving

 


 

Keep moving lads ... keep moving

Don't huddle on this beach

Don't make yourselves a target

For those guns up there to reach

Keep moving lads ... keep moving

There's the seawall ... over there

Keep moving lads ... keep moving

Don't falter ... or despair

Don't look ... at comrades falling

Around you ... everywhere

Keep moving lads ... keep moving

We can take this ... on the chin

Keep moving ... and keep praying

Before those guns ... they zero in.

                                                 A Quiet Place

 

 

It's quiet here ... so quiet

Standing on this hill

But if I stand here too much longer

My eyes with tears will fill

Looking down ... I'm there again

On that beach ... just down below

Far different ... to that morning

That I remember so

That beach ... it was a hell on earth

Where no man ... should ever go

I remember

I was down there

I should know

Don't cry now ... dear old soldier

That was many years ago

 

The Coxswain

 

 

There are forty of us waiting

In this little LCA

We sailors ... and these soldiers

We're taking in today

They came aboard our mother ship

Now several days ago

They're growing very pale

As the strain begins to show

They're only boys ... the most of them

Eighteen to twenty three

For some of them ... tomorrow

Is a day ... they'll never see

I can't promise we'll all make it lads

But I'll do my best ... you'll see

I'll remember you young soldiers

This day ... in Normandy

God bless you lads ... and keep you safe

We'll meet again ... one day

This is it then lads, keep your heads down

AWAY ALL BOATS ... AWAY.

I Stand Here Now

 

 

 

 

I stand here now

Amongst ... brave men

With whom ... I've stood before

The last time ... when we landed

On June 6th of '44

Back then ... we were all young men

Eighteen or little more

Their lives ... cut short ... that morning

On this distant ... windswept shore

I stand here now ... and wonder

What would they ... have become

Had they survived ...  that morning

Their lives ... allowed full run

One thing ...  I know ...  for certain

Of which ... there is ... no doubt

These brave young men

My pals ... from then

Would be ... old

White haired ... with wrinkled brow

Just like me ...

As I stand here ... now.

 Any Moment Now

The noise ... it will begin

As bombarding ships and rocket ships

Send their salvos whistling in

Any moment now

These landing craft will move

Making for the beaches

Defenders ... to remove

Any moment now

There will be many a silent prayer

As these craft attain the beaches

So close now ... see them there
Any moment now

 

Men and craft ... they will be hit

It is then ... we'll be required

To show we have true grit

Any moment now

I will be watching comrades fall

Be ready Lord ... above the noise

Listen ... for my call

I do not know if I will cope

Please ... stand by me ... show me how

I'm going to need you ... more than ever

Any moment now.

 

 

 

The Commando Memorial
 

                        by
 

            Archie MacLellan

The sun shone down upon the snow
Atop Aonach and the Ben,
As in the shadows there trained below
A finest group of fighting men,
None braver lived is to be said
Honour flowed throughout their veins,
Freedom bred, Lord Lovat led
Their lives to stop dictators' gains.

They gave it their all for the nation they served
Their courage maintained foreign parts,
A Memorial stands proud down in Spean
Let us all build one more in our hearts.

With command for to land on the shore at Sword Beach
On the Sixth Day of June Forty Four,
A place in our history was now within reach
The Piper to take them ashore,
Though danger around him, The Piper gave stand
He stuck to his task without care,
His march unrepentant, as if claiming the land
As ĎRoad To The Islesí filled the air.
Battle ferocious, the enemy strong
Sweat mixed with sand mixed with mud,
Young men unrelenting though battle was long
The water still flows with their blood.

They gave it their all for the nation they served
Their courage maintained foreign parts,
A Memorial stands proud down in Spean
Let us all build one more in our hearts.

Perished did men still young in their years
The land of our birth lost Her Sons,
But liveth they on in Remembrance tears
Liveth on how they silenced the guns,
Lest we forget the Sacrifice
In our Bloody Wars were made,
That Sacrifice that takes us here
Can never be repaid.

They gave it their all for the nation they served
Their courage maintained foreign parts,
A Memorial stands proud down in Spean
Let us all build one more in our hearts.

2003 [Photo of the Commando Memorial courtesy of Stephen Eblet]

 

News & Information

 

Memorial Maintenance

We have a small band of volunteers who take turns to visit the memorial each month, particularly during the growing season, to undertake routine maintenance such as weeding keeping the stones and slabs clear of bird dropping, lichen etc. and reporting on any issues. If you live near the National Memorial Arboretum and would like to find out more, please contact us.

Remember a Veteran

You can pay a personal tribute to veterans who served in, or alongside, the Combined Operations Command in WW2 by adding their details and optional photo to our Roll of Honour and They Also Served pages on this website.

Read the Combined Operations prayer.

Forthcoming Events

To organisers: Reach the people who will be interested to know about your Combined Operations or war related event by adding it to our forthcoming events page free of charge.

To everyone else; Visit our forthcoming events page for things to see and places to visit. If you know of an event of possible interest, that is not listed, please let us know.

To notify an event click here.

To visit the webpage click here.

Facebook

Why not join the thousands who visit our Facebook page about the Combined Operations Command in appreciation of our WW2 veterans.

See the 'slide shows' of the dedication ceremony and the construction of the memorial plus the 'On this day in 194?' feature where major Combined Ops events are highlighted on their anniversary dates with links to additional information.

You are welcome to add information, photos and comment or reply to messages posted by others.

Find Books of Interest 

Search for Books direct from our Books page. Don't have the name of a book in mind? Just type in a keyword to get a list of possibilities... and if you want to purchase you can do so on line through the Advanced Book Exchange (ABE). 5% commission goes into the memorial fund.

WW2 Combined Operations Handbook

This handbook was prepared for Combined Operations in the Far East. It illustrates the depth and complexity of the planning process necessary to ensure that the 3 services worked together as a unified force.

Restoration of Geoffrey Appleyard's  Memorial 

Click on the image if you'd like to contribute to the improvement of the memorial to Geoffrey Appleyard, DSO, MC and Bar, through the purchase of a limited edition print of a book about him. Geoffrey achieved so much in service with No 7 Commando, No 62 Commando, the Small Scale Raiding Force and the Second SAS Regiment. He was posted Missing in Action in July 1943, aged 26.

www.bramleywarmemorial.com/major-geoffrey-appleyard-book-now-available-for-purchase/

The Gazelle Helicopter Squadron Display Team

The Gazelle Squadron is a unique team of ex-British Military Gazelle helicopters in their original military colours and with their original military registrations. The core team includes four Gazelles, one from each service; The Royal Navy, The Royal Marines, The Army Air Corps and The Royal Air Force. A fifth Gazelle in Royal Marines colours will provide intimate support for the team. Their crest includes the Combined Operations badge. The last, and possibly, only time the badge was seen on an aircraft was in the early mid 40s. A photo of the Hurricane concerned is included in the 516 Squadron webpage.

Legasee Film Archive

As part of an exciting social history project, the film company Legasee is looking for veterans from any conflict who would like to have their stories filmed for posterity. Films are now available on line. www.legasee.org.uk

New to Combined Ops?

Visit Combined Operations Explained for an easy introduction to the subject.

About Us?

Background to the website and memorial project, and a look to the future; plus other small print stuff and website accounts etc. Click here for information.

 

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