- Contributed by
- CSV Action Desk/BBC Radio Lincolnshire
- People in story:
- Mr Ronald George Lamming ASDIC Opperator
- Location of story:
- Northern Waters-France
- Background to story:
- Royal Navy
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 22 August 2005
Ronald George Lamming ASDIC Operator
This story was submitted to the Peoples War Site by volunteer John C Haywood BBC Radio Lincolnshire Action Desk on behalf of Mr Ronald George Lamming, and has been added to the site with his permission. Mr Lamming fully understands the site terms and conditions.
Account of 'D' Day
HMS Orestes 18th M/S Flotilla
After practically six months in Northern Waters with Russian Convoys we arrive in Portsmouth, obviously to prepare for the second front. In April long leave is given to both watches, all in three weeks, not much shore leave is given, and what we do get is short. While we are doing 'sweeps' off Brighton H.M.S. Stormcloud is damaged by exploding mines. Two days later dan laying trawler for sixth flotilla is sunk.
Saturday 3rd June 1944.
This is the first run ashore for about three weeks. We have to be back aboard by 20.00Hrs, just time for a drink for some, and pictures for others. It is obvious to everyone that big operations are about to begin.
Sunday 4th June 1944
Rumours that invasion day is today. Orders for getting under way are cancelled at the last minute. All mail has been stopped coming and going. (We never get much anyway)
Monday 5th June 1944
This seems to be the day, ships company have been issued with action rations, field dressings and a piece of rope to tie round our waist to enable rescue ships to pick up any survivors. Also a check up has been made of all life belts and life saving lights.
'D' Day at last
We are under way now. Just received a signal from H.M.S. Depot ship 'Tyne' Good Luck, Drive Ahead. (We'll need it I think). Hundreds of small landing craft are under way along with us and getting into formation as we leave the Solent. This is definitely 'The Day' we have long awaited, I don't think that anyone is sorry. We will be able to see the end of this war in sight once we get this over.
We have been steaming slowly all day long, nothing but invasion craft as far as the eye can see. Some of the smaller ones are getting a bit of a rough crossing as the weather is a bit choppy.
We are all standing by for the skippers speech and wondering what he will have to say.
Well now we know what to expect and every one is a bit more serious. Being the first ship in does not make us too happy. No one thought our job would be dangerous, however everyone hides their feelings the best way they can. Some make a few wise-cracks and cause a laugh. I think we would laugh at anything for the sake of laughing.
The wireless is blaring away now, and it is one consolation to know that our loved ones at home do not know.
'Sweeps Out' Everyone are on their toes, life belts are inflated and tied to them are small water proof bundles with any photographs etc of any real sentimental value, no-one seems to bother about their kit. In line ahead are the 18th Flotilla,
Leader:HMS READY-ORESTES-HOUND-HYDRA-ONYX and COCKERTRICE.
There goes the first mine, swept by HMS READY. After this they come up regularly, some exploding near, unexploded mines are floating uncomfortably near. READY has now lost both her sweeps by exploding mines and has fallen astern to repair them. We are now in the lead, but not for long, our sweeps soon go the same way as the READY's, however we quickly have them repaired, and take up position again.
Tuesday 6th June 1944
We are now through the minefield and within a few miles of the enemy coast. All that has to be done now is to clear an anchorage for the invasion fleet behind us.
The bombardment of the coast has begun by the big guns of the Royal Navy. Some of those seen include HMS ENTERPRISE-EMERALD-BELFAST-GLASGOW-HAWKINS-ROBERTS-FROBISHER-ORION and heaps of detroyers and battleships, including RAMILLIES-RICHELIEU (French)-NELSON-RODNEY-WARSPITE and TEXAS (USA) The bombardment from these ships is terrific. Landing craft are seen now to be making their way inshore. I wonder what sort of reception they will get. (Goog luck to them all). No one can feel more proud than we do, we have done a good job, no ships have been sunk by mines so far, and this speaks for the success of our sweep. Enemy gun enplacements are being shelled by the fleet and bombed by the R.A.F. Aircraft fill the skies, and so far there are no signs of the Luftwaffe. Lightnings and Spitfires are everywhere and large formations of troop carrying planes and gliders are going across. We have complete mastery of the skies and the seas, up to now.
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