On the night of 5th/6th June 1944 I was a 19-year old Sniper in the first Horsa glider to crash-land in darkness just after midnight. As the first glider to touch down our task was to charge across the bridge over the Caen canal and wipe out whatever enemy forces may be guarding the bridge.
Speed was the essance as it was known from info supplied by local people that the Germans had mined the bridge to enable them to destroy it in the event of an invasion.
My book 'The Devil's Own Luck' An account of my 3 months in Normandy, 2 months in the Ardennes during the so-called 'Battle of the Bulge', and 6 weeks in Germany; (1944/45) published by Pen and Sword Books Ltd gives a true account of the capture of the bridges over the Caen Canal and adjacent Orne river - later renamed Pegasus and Horsa bridges by the French Government in recognition of their being the first part of France to be liberated on D-Day.
Anyone seeking more info can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. I act as correspondent to the 21 known surviving members of the original 180-man Coup de Main force.
Please note that I receive many contacts from relatives and/or friends of veterans claiming to have been at Pegasus Bridge.
When we were in the Transit Camp our force commander - the late Major John Howard - ordered the Company Clerk to list everyone travelling in the six gliders. This was done in case any of them failed to arrive!
Fortunately Major Howard retained those lists and some 16 years ago, with his permission, and with considerable help from the then 50 other known survivors, I produced typed lists which were circulated to former members, relatives and to Airborne related museums so please, if you were not a member of that famous force, do not make false claims as I hate having to tell people that they have been told a very tall story!