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My Parents' D Day

by Judycas

Contributed by 
Judycas
People in story: 
Marion and Leslie Casselden
Location of story: 
Normandy
Article ID: 
A2674721
Contributed on: 
28 May 2004

My father was a corporal in the 34th Royal Marines, with the Amphibeous Assault Regiment, Combined Operations. My parents were engaged to be married but were waiting to see if my father survived before tying the knot. My mother was in the Land Army. On D Day, she was picking peas and described how the sky turned black with planes and the noise was deafening. She knew then that the invasion had started. This is my father's account of his D Day:
"We embarked from Southampton, joining a vast armada, early in the evening of June 5th (about 7pm), in a flat-bottomed tank landing craft. I was in a Sherman Command tank and we were bound for Berniere-sur-Mer on Juno beach. The crossing was very rough and there was no shelter other than the tank. At about 6.30 am on June 6th we passed HMS Belfast and the ratings were leaning over the side cheering us on. I wished I was with them! Soon after, prior to the landings, we were issued with a rum ration which made me feel better! We were under enemy fire and were returning it. Between 7 and 7.30am we disembarked into 5 to 6 foot of water. Our waterproof exhaust pipe shute was strafed with machine-gun fire and a shell gave us a glancing blow on the side of the tank. We seered between metal stanchions topped with mines and managed to slowly get onto the beach. It was approximately 2 hours before we were able to move inland. We passed the road alongside Berniere church and headed inland to consolidate our position and await orders, wondering what the next day held for us."
Happily, my father survived and my parents were married at the beginning of July when he returned and celebrate their Diamond Wedding anniversary this year.

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