D-Day 75 – In this year of the 75th Anniversary of D-Day we remember what took place – why not join us and keep these memories for the future generations so that they will know from first hand voices what occurred.

D-Day 75 – Please support us – those who were there are becoming few but while we hold their memories and memorabilia we will keep their thoughts and feelings alive and available for all to share.

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The ninth in our so far 38 Journals – D-Day – available in print. Written with the voices of those who were there.


Journal 09 – D-Day


Americans – Introduction

Introduction – Journal 38  Americans

This issue’s cover theme draws from the Centre’s archive on American service personnel.

In our first article, Texas- born Willard Korsmeyer recounts his introduction to the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, describing himself as ‘one of the more diminutive pilots… assigned to the largest fighter’. He flew escort for bomber raids and top cover for carpet bombings until shot down during a mission over Germany. Captured and sent to Stalag Luft 1, Willard attributes his moral and spiritual survival as a POW to his mentors, one of which was an African-American Tuskegee Airman. We also have Frank ‘Kirby’ Cowen, a radio operator and gunner from Arkansas, aboard the B-17 Flying Fortress, ‘Horn’s Hornets’, which was hit by enemy fire. Kirby was rescued by the French Underground but betrayed by the notorious double-agent, Jacques Desoubrie, and interred in Buchenwald Concentration Camp.

Henry Ford’s B-24 Liberator production plant is the focus of Ford’s Willow Run. The factory produced an astonishing fully-built aircraft every fifty-five minutes during its peak production. George Martin Bauer from Central Illinois, pilot of the indomitable B-24 Liberator, ‘Fairy Belle’, recounts a few of his missions including the Gotha raid during Big Week, for which his Group was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. George describes the ‘utter confusion’ of the catastrophic Friedrichshafen mission on 18th March 1944 when 44th Group was attacked by Messerschmitts, resulting in the loss of fourteen aircraft. George also discusses training and mental toughness, and he gives a candid account of the sheer mental exhaustion (known as ‘flak happy’) which he experienced after an extended period of combat.

D-Day 75th Anniversary

2019 is the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Previous journal issues on this subject include D-Day (issue no. 09) and Normandy (issue no. 19). To commemorate this anniversary, we have Radio Operator Theodore ‘Ted’ Stebbins, 6th Engineer Special Brigade, USAAF, who landed on the infamous Dog Green Sector of Omaha Beach in support of the 5th Rangers. Ted’s eye-witness account tells of the ‘melee and confusion’ of the landings, the ‘nightmare’ scenes on the beach, and of how he managed to join up with the Rangers despite being under continuous mortar and sniper fire. Also on Omaha Beach we have an insight into the German perspective from Franz Gockel, who at barely eighteen-years-old was a machine-gunner in the notorious strongpoint of WN-62 (Resistance Nest 62). In Good Luck & God Speed Private Richard Harris, a young infantryman in
the 1st Battalion Suffolk Regiment, recounts his experience of landing on Sword Beach and the assault on the enemy gun emplacement codenamed Morris, and 736 Grenadier Regiment HQ. One D-Day event that Richard describes as ‘never to be forgotten’ was the arrival of the airborne forces.

Airborne forces

James Goulty’s article Argonauts of the Airborne introduces the establishment and training of the airborne forces, while Colonel David Wood of the 2nd Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry tells of his experience of Operation Deadstick, the airborne operation which took place in the early hours of 6th June 1944 as part of the Normandy landings.

Moving on to March 1945, we have Flight Lieutenant Ken Scolding piloting a glider during the largest and last airborne operation of the war, Operation Varsity, part of the British- American push into Germany. Ken’s article centres on the German village of Hamminkeln which is also the subject of American-born John Kormann’s article Be Merciful. A letter to John from his German mother, imploring that he be merciful to the enemy, resulted in John saving the lives of fourteen women and children of Hamminkeln. The legacy of the Be Merciful story lives on, serving to educate the schoolchildren of Hamminkeln and to honour the fallen, thanks to the efforts of John’s daughter, Andrea Kormann Lowe.

To finish we have Aircraft Salvage by Reg Redford, a driver working for 54 Maintenance Unit, recovering and stripping downed aircraft in the area of East Anglia and the south- east coast. Reg gives a detailed explanation of the work of the unit and the incidents he attended at RAF stations of Tangmere and Manston, illustrated with his own wartime sketches.


In addition to the American section of the archives, the Centre has a wealth of material in the Cooke Collection. This collection consists of original hand-written letters and memorabilia collected and donated by the late Emeritus Professor and military historian, James Cooke. James served in the United States Army during the Second World War and the Gulf War. His published articles in Everyone’s War include D-Day and the Americans, The Songs Behind the Stars and Stripes and The Americans and VE Day.

Amanda Herbert-Davies

James Goulty is a military historian and author with an interest in twentieth century warfare, particularly the training and combat experience of the British Army. Here he discusses the commencement, value and potential pitfalls of British Battle Training

Journal37 Cover

Journal37 Cover


Further references  – Journal 37  MEDICS


See below further references for some of the articles in Journal 37  “Medics”




References – Battle School Training , J.Goulty

i Author’s Interview: Pte Bill Titchmarsh (2/6th Queen’s Regiment), Royal Hospital Chelsea, 18/8/10.
ii Timothy Harrison Place, Military Training in the British Army, 1940-1944: From Dunkirk to D-Day (London: Frank Cass, 2000), p. 41.
iii IWM DS Acc. No. 31401, Interview Reel 3: Richard Phillips (Pte & NCO 2nd SWB, UK & NW Europe, 1939 -1945).
iv Frederick Myatt, The British Infantry 1660-1945: Evolution of a Fighting Force (Poole: Blanford Press, 1983), p. 211.
v Paul Bryan, Wool, War and Westminster (London: Tom Donovan, 1993), p. 54. (NB The papers of Lt. Col Sir Paul Bryan DSO, MC can be seen in the SWWEC archives Acc no. 2000-608).
vi A. R. Farrar-Hockley, Infantry Tactics 1939-1945 (New Malden: Alnmark, 1976), pp. 20, 22.
vii IWM DS Acc. No. 10165, Interview Reel 33 Martin McLane (NCO 2nd DLI, UK, France, NW Europe, India and Burma 1939-1945).
viii Myatt, The British Infantry 1660-1945, p. 211.
ix Sydney Jary, 18 Platoon (Privately published, 1994), p. 6.
x See for example, Harrison Place, Military Training in the British Army, 1940-1944, pp. 53-54, 64-65.
xi WO Code 7589, Infantry Training Pt. VIII, Fieldcraft, Battle Drill Section and Platoon Tactics, 4 March 1944, Ch. 4 The Battle Drills for the Attack, Section 21, p. 47.
xii Bryan, Wool, War and Westminster, p. 54.
xiii Denis Forman, To Reason Why (London: Andre Deutsch, 1991), p. 41. (NB Sir Denis Forman was commandant of a battle school and served as a major in 6th RWK in Italy. His papers are held by SWWEC).
xiv Forman, To Reason Why, p. 41.
xv Christopher Bulteel, Something About A Soldier (Shrewsbury: Airlife Publishing, 2000), p. 34.
xvi Robert H. Ahrenfeldt, Psychiatry in the British Army in the Second World War (London: Routledge & Keegan Paul, 1958), p. 199.
xvii David French, Raising Churchill’s Army: The British Army and the War against Germany 1919-1945 (Oxford: OUP, 2000), p. 206.
xviii Ahrenfeldt, Psychiatry in the British Army in the Second World War, p. 203.
xix Forman, To Reason Why, p. 54.
xx SWWEC, Typed Transcript of Taped Interview-Tape 1383, Dr. Ian D. Campbell, April 2002, p. 4.
xxi Durham County Record Office, D/DLI 2/9/342, Account by Eric ‘Bill’ Sykes (70th DLI & Parachute Regiment, 1942-1949).
xxii Harrison Place, Military Training in the British Army, 1940-1944, p. 62.
xxiii DCRO, D/DLI 2/9/257 (1), Lessons from Ten Days’ Close Country Warfare in Sicily, Catania-Riposto by Lt. Col. J. R. Woods DSO, MC (9th DLI), 20/8/43, Conclusion: paragraph 9.
xxiv John A. English, On Infantry (New York: Praeger, 1981), p. 141.

Home Guard Bibliography

Anon, Home Guard Manual 1941 (Reprinted: Stroud, Gloucs: Tempus, 2006)
Anon, History of the Cheshire Home Guard: From L.D.V. Formation to Stand Down, 1940-1944 (Reprinted: Uckfield, East Sussex, Naval & Military Press)
Brophy, John, Britain’s Home Guard (London: George G. Harrap & Co. Ltd, 1945)
Beckett, Ian F. W., Britain’s Part-Time Soldiers: The Amateur Military Tradition 1558-1945 (Barnsley: Pen and Sword, 2011)
Danchev, Alex and Todman, Daniel (eds), War Diaries 1939-1945: Field Marshal Lord AlanBrooke (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2001)
Gardiner, Juliet, Wartime Britain 1939-1945 (London: Review, 2005)
Gough, Gen. Sir Hubert, Soldiering On (London: Arthur Baker Ltd, 1954)
Graves, Charles, The Home Guard of Britain (London: Hutchinson & Co. Ltd, 1943)
Green, Brig-Gen. A. F. U., The British Home Guard Pocket Book 1942 (Reprinted: London: Conway, 2009)
Hamilton, Nigel, Monty Volume 1: The Making of a General, 1887-1942 (London, Sceptre, 1989)
Horrocks, Lt-Gen. Sir Brian, A Full Life (Glasgow: Fontana Books, 1962)
Longmate, Norman, The Real Dad’s Army (Stroud, Gloucs: Amberley, 2016)
Macksey, Kenneth, Armoured Crusader: The Biography of Maj-Gen. Sir Percy ‘Hobo’ Hobart (London: Grub Street, 2004)
Mackenzie, S. P., The Home Guard: The Real Story of ‘Dad’s Army’ (Oxford: OUP, 1996)
McCann, Graham, Dad’s Army: The Story of a Classic Television Show (London: Fourth Estate, 2002)
Scott, Ronnie (ed), The Real Dad’s Army: The War Diaries of Col. Rodney Foster (London: Penguin Books, 2012)
Shaw, Frank & Joan (eds), We Remember the Home Guard (London: Ebury Press, 2012)
Shears, Gen. Phillip J., The Story of the Border Regiment 1939-1945 (London: Nisbet & Co. Ltd, 1948)
Street, A. G., From Dusk Till Dawn (Oxford: OUP, 1989)
Wintringham, Tom, New Ways of War (London: Penguin Books, 1940)

Noor  on the  £50 note

The new £50 note could become the UK’s first to feature someone from an ethnic minority, as the Bank of England begins its call for submissions from the public. Second World War heroine, Noor Inayat Khan, could be the “face” of the highest-denomination note, which will be reissued in plastic from 2020.

She was born on 1 January 1914 in a monastery just outside the Kremlin in Moscow. Her father was a Sufi preacher, Hazrat Inayat Khan, and her mother was an American, Ora Ray Baker.  Her father had travelled from his homeland of Baroda in India to the West on the instructions of his teacher, who had told him to take his message of music and peace to the world. Trained in Indian classical music, Inayat Khan picked up his veena and left for New York with his brothers. They set up a group called the Royal Musicians of Hindustan and travelled around the US giving concerts and recitals combined with Inayat Khan’s lectures on Sufism.

See more here the Life of Noor

Noor Inayat Khan
Noor Inayat Khan