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15 October 2014
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My Air-raid Siren

by BBC Southern Counties Radio

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Archive List > D-Day+ 1944

Contributed by 
BBC Southern Counties Radio
People in story: 
Robert Burgess
Location of story: 
South of France 1944
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
15 August 2005

I was 22 years old when war started. My home was in Mitcham, Surrey.

The 2nd Independent Parachute Brigade was called in to spearhead the American invasion of South France in August 1944, the Americans had previously never carried out a night drop. I was an Officer in the 2nd Parachute Squadron, Royal Engineers. We were detailed to drop in an area north of Frejus near La Motte (this was the first town in France to be liberated).

The drop was at 2am and we had to remove anti-glider poles and clear the area for the American gliders to be able to land at first light. We jumped at around 1,500 feet over a sea of cloud. The sudden silence after the noise of the Dakota C47 was most impressive. I could also hear the noise of the sirens going off at Frejus. My thought at that moment was “I have helped to set off the siren this time instead of being on the receiving end as I had so often been in England”. This meant a lot to me at the time and the memory has always been with me.

This story has been entered on the site by Elizabeth Legate on behalf of Robert Burgess, with his permission. Robert fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.

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