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D-Day: Germans on the Run

Heroes Remember - D-Day

D-Day: Germans on the Run

We were over in the french, well we started in, in February; February, March, April. We were sweeping there for five months and we were always hoping, when's the damn invasion going to take place, and all of a sudden it did. But I can remember yet and leaving Plymouth, England, the captain cleared lower decks, is what you called when he had a message and cleared lower decks. And everybody was in the top quarter deck and he said, "We're on our way to invade the french coast." And we thought it was just another mission to France, really, but here was the real thing coming up and the storm was so bad, I think it was on the 4th or 5th of February, no in June it was, that we had to turn back. It was cancelled because of the storm. But we got just about back to Plymouth, orders again to return or return to the original order and proceed to the french coast. It wasn't a cheerleaders talk of, "Go get'em boys!" It wasn't, you know, there was silence in the mess, down below in the mess there was a silence. They knew they were going to the horror. And there was nobody growling or anything like that, it's just that they knew, they were heading there. And when we got to the site, it was around midnight, June the 6th and that's when the air force was bombing and all the other ships moving in. It was just, just the star fire, lit up the whole and you see the planes dropping and the flames and everything like that, hitting. And the shoreline, the shoreline was just a, just a flare, whether it was flames or what, we don't know. And all the traffic too, there was so much going on. My God the traffic was . . . PT boats were just whizzing by you and you were scared you were gonna have a collision with them. Interviewer: But during, during the D-Day, the actual invasion, you were on the sweeper? (Yeah). Now the sweepers were probably as close in as anybody got at first. (Exactly). Tell me about that, tell me about the job of what the sweepers were supposed to do in their position with the rest of . . . because nobody knows this. (Yeah). We need to know everything about what the sweepers were doing and where everybody else was! Well, it was marked out where the, the landing ships were supposed to go, you see? And the other battleships, it was marked out for them to drop anchor and use their big guns. So everything was pretty well, preplanned. And, I don't know Rick, we were quite in command of ourselves. There was nobody in a state of confusion or anything like that, because it was so organized. Interviewer: So, there you were in the middle of the largest invasion in the history of mankind. (Yeah). What was going through your feeling? What were your blood, what were you aware of; the size, the scope, the history you were a part of? Yeah. But I don't know Rick, what it was, I know as you say and that's the way I always looked at it, one of the greatest invasions ever took place. But we're, you know you're on the way to success, you know like a fighter in a ten round fight. In round five if he knows he's ahead, he's going to fight twice as hard, for the next five to win. And that's the feeling you had, "We got'er half way boys, lets finish them off." And we had no fears of dying or anything like that. It's just that, they're on the run. And that was a silent celebration within, you know?

Mr. Doherty recalls events surrounding the D-Day invasion; coastal minesweeping, cancellation and reinstatement of the offensive, and how well it was orchestrated. He also remarks on how feeling, that the Allies now had the Germans on the run, affected morale.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Ivan Doherty
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
HMCS Guysborough
Acting Petty Officer

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