It is the Sixth of June

And do I see any sign in the press that, sixty-seven years ago today, the greatest sea-borne invasion in history took place on the beaches of Normandy, beginning the end of the Great Patriotic War, excuse me, World War Two? I see that Hugh Bonneville is up for the Gentleman’s Club role, whatever the hell that may be, that Bob Geldoff has been rocking them in the aisles with his tales of love, that Wayne Rooney has had a hair transplant…

It is worth remembering that on 6th June 1940 the evacuation from Dunkirk of the BEF had finished two days earlier, with the bulk of their equipment being left on the beaches behind them. On D-Day, 6th June 1944, only 4 years later, the Allies landed around 156,000 troops in Normandy. (American forces – 73,000.) on 6th June 1940 Ninety-five per cent of these soldiers had been civilians with no military training, experience or even any great desire to be soldiers.

11,590 aircraft were available to support the landings. On D-Day, Allied aircraft flew 14,674 sorties. All of these aircraft had been built in less than four years. Ninety per cent of their pilots had never flown in an airplane, much less piloted one, before Dunkirk and ninety-five per cent of the mechanics and other ground support personnel who maintained their engines and other systems had never set foot on an airfield.

Operation Neptune, the naval support operation for the Overlord landings, involved huge naval forces, including 6939 vessels: 1213 naval combat ships, 4126 landing ships and landing craft, 736 ancillary craft and 864 merchant vessels. Some 195,700 personnel were assigned to Operation Neptune – 112,824 of these were British, Nearly two thirds of the ships were from the Royal Navy. 70 something % of those ships had been built since June 1940. Ninety percent of the seamen and eighty per cent of the officers manning those vessels of war had never crewed more than a rowboat before June 1940.

A pipeline was laid under the ocean to carry fuel and lubricants to the allied forces. Two pre-fabricated harbors had been designed, built and towed through one of the most treacherous bodies of water in the world and installed on the Channel coast of France while under enemy fire.

All of this, and more, done in four years. All of it done without electronic computers. All of it done without fax machines, without cell phones, without voice mail, all of it done with manual typewriters and mechanical calculators and reams of paper and legions of men and women filing and stamping and checking and rechecking and working as if their lives depended on it. As if!

Also in today’s newspaper we learn that we are to share an aircraft carrier with France.

All I can say is; 2 Samuel 1:27 King James Version, and remind myself that despair is a sin, as well as being extremely bad tactics.

14 thoughts on “It is the Sixth of June”

  1. all celebrity culture and idolatry. all the press goes on about is the trivial, why ? because the man in the street is more concerned about xfactor or mindless talent shows than the world or history.

    sad ain’t it.

  2. I walked on “Ohama” beach one Sunday in early December four years ago. It was chilling and moving and it wasn’t just the weather.

    I’m not likely to forget, Bravo.

  3. And thanks to all of those brave men and women, today’s society can enjoy the freedoms of such trivial matters such as celebrity haircuts. Shameful, but that is one of the prices of freedom. I’m sure we’d all agree that we’d at least rather have the opportunity to pooh-pooh the insane crassness of the modern world.

    Thanks for the reminder Bravo, although I did remember and like you was shocked at the lack of press/news time. To be fair to the baby Independant, the “i” did mention it, just.

  4. Bravo, I will never forget, ever.

    But. Hang on. However. Waitaminute, the last thing I want is my children and grandchildren to be “burdened” with this cross we bear.

    Perhaps it’s time to move on, I can live with that.

    My wish today would be that you lot would stop sacrificing young men and women elsewhere, let’s just go home!

  5. Thanks for the comments, all.

    Soutie, I agree that we shouldn’t live in the past, any of us, but I do agree with the sentiment that if we don’t learn the lessons of history, we are condemned to repeat them. I have also made it clear that I see no reason at all why our pusillanimous politicians are sending our soldiers to places that have sod-all to do with our national interest.

    Cuprum, I agree.

  6. I am surprised that the UK press has not even mentioned this anniversary. I’d never really thought about the ‘processes’ behind the action. Your post really highlights the enormous achievement of taking a nation from Peace to War in a matter of four years. It was a truly inspiring achievement.

    But, alas, not sufficiently inspiring for those for whom it has no relevance whatsoever. And one has to face the fact that for many of those two or more generations removed from the War, it really has no relevance… It is completely outside their experience – as it was intended to be.

    And thanks to all of those brave men and women, today’s society can enjoy the freedoms of such trivial matters such as celebrity haircuts. Shameful, but that is one of the prices of freedom.

    Often, the hardest part of giving is to let the gift go free and without strings… and to end up thinking that the ‘gift’ has been squandered. I, too, find the celebrity culture pathetic!

    Soutie is right, we should not burden later generations with the past, and we should ‘stop sacrificing young men and women elsewhere, let’s just go home!

  7. For what it is worth it was all over the USA media today.
    Something seriously wrong with the UK.
    Who the hell is interested in Wayne Rooney, more to the point who the fuck IS WR? Some Northern peasant footballer, Jesus what have we come to?

  8. It may not surprise anyone that there was no mention of it in yesterday’s French newspapers either. I would have expected something in the UK press. Perhaps every journalist is too busy tracking down dangerous bean sprouts. Germany certainly has a lot of egg on its face in that matter.

  9. At least we did not have the embarrassment of The Prime Idiot Gordon Brown referring to Obama Beach, as in previous years. I do, however, agree. There should have been major coverage of the anniversary in the UK, but all politicians of all UK parties are so self obsessed now, they do not live in the real world; likewise the MSM.

  10. Bravo, are you still in Russia? As we fast approach the seventieth anniversary of the beginning of the Great Patriotic war I may add a piece on Barbarossa a little nearer to the time. Great article, BTW.

  11. Ana, I left Russia last summer. I was in Romania until end Jan this year, and now I’m loafing about in Cyprus 🙂

    Look forward to the piece on Barbarossa.

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