D-Day on the BBC
Characters portrayed in D-Day
Juan Pujol (aka Garbo) The Double Agent
Juan Pujol was employed by the Germans to work as a spy in London but
actually was sending them misleading information, under the direction
of the British Security Service, MI5.
In 1941, his wife, Aracelli, offered his services to
the British consulate but was turned down.
Pujol realised he would have to have something to offer
the Allies so he approached the German embassy in Madrid. After telling
them he could get to London they took him on as a spy.
He entered a fantasy world of fiction and invention
and told the Germans in July 1941 that he'd reached London, even though
he was actually in Portugal.
Pujol's information was so interesting to the Germans
in Madrid that they radioed his reports to Berlin. These were intercepted
by the British who had cracked the Germans' military cyphers.
MI5 was informed about an enemy agent controlled by
Madrid at the same time as they were told by British intelligence officials
that there was a Spaniard in Lisbon who was duping the Germans.
MI5 put two and two together and flew Pujol to England
in April 1942.
Garbo's ability to play the role of more than 20 different
'informants', and persuade the Germans that this information was correct,
was crucial to the success of D-Day.
Working for ideological reasons, Garbo never asked for
cash but was given £17,500 by the Allies and the MBE.
Terence Otway D-Day veteran
Before World War Two, Terence Otway was a career soldier serving in
the Empire's hardest trouble spot the North-West frontier.
In April 1944, while in his late twenties, he was second
in command of the 9th Parachute Battalion and was surprised to be suddenly
promoted to the top job and ordered to plan for the attack of the Merville
battery on D-Day.
The attack itself did not go to plan, with many paratroopers
missing their drop-zones and not reaching the rendezvous point at the
arranged time, and much equipment getting lost.
The attack ended at around 5.00am and the men retreated,
taking with them their injured comrades and 23 prisoners.
Of the 150 paratroopers who took part in the assault,
half were dead, missing or wounded.
A signal flare was fired and a carrier pigeon released
in order to convey to HMS Arethusa waiting off-shore that the battery
had been silenced.
Bill Farmer and Bob Littlar D-Day veterans
Bill Farmer and Bob Littlar were conscripted into the army in 1943 on
the same day, but not at the same place.
Bill joined up at Worcester, at an Initial Training
Unit, and Bob was called up at Brecon.
They both, however, became attached to the 2nd battalion
King's Shropshire Light Infantry (KSLI). In October of the same year
Bob was informed that they would be taking part in the Allied invasion
of the Continent.
The first time they met was at Locherbie where they
were sent to prepare for D-Day.
About a week before the invasion Bill and Bob were moved to a sealed
camp which they were not allowed to leave.
On 5 June they were heading for France and landed in
the second wave of allied forces on the beach codenamed Sword.
Despite heavy shelling, mortaring and machine gun fire,
within about an hour they made it off the beach.
Robert Capa War Photographer
Robert Capa was born Endre Friedmann in 1913 in Budapest. He
left home at 18 and found a job as a darkroom apprentice with a Berlin
With the rise of Hitler, Friedmann, who was Jewish,
fled to Paris.
In the spring of 1936, Endre and his girlfriend, Gerda,
decided to form an association of three people. Gerda acted as sales
representative, Endre was a darkroom hired hand and both were supposedly
employed by an imaginary American photographer named Robert Capa.
Friedmann took the pictures, Gerda sold them, and credit
was given to the non-existent Capa, whose shots sold for three times
the standard rate.
That summer, Friedmann, now operating under the name
of Capa, covered the Civil War in Spain.
In 1942, he joined the invasion convoy to North Africa
where he took an assignment from Life magazine.
On 6 June 1944 a landing craft took Capa to Omaha Beach
he was one of only three photographers chosen to cover the initial
He struggled ashore under heavy fire and took four
rolls of film. Of these, all but 11 frames were ruined in Life's London
darkroom when the emulsion ran in an overheated drying cabinet.
However, Life and the world press published the surviving
images some of the most memorable of the war.
Andre Heintz French Resistance
Andre joined the Resistance after being approached by a Polish priest
who had started an underground network.
After this network was broken up in 1941, he joined
the Organisation Civile et Militaire (OCM).
This, too, was dispersed in 1943, but Andre was undeterred
and joined another Resistance group Liberation Nord.
Andre's underground work comprised three main tasks:
intelligence work, where he collected information for the Allies about
German positions and defences; provision of new identities for people
in trouble; and distribution of underground newspapers to keep up local
He also had a radio set on which he listened to the
BBC, receiving coded messages sent to the Resistance.
His task for the night of 5 June was to watch the headquarters
of the 716th German Infantry Division, which was in his street.
He also helped protect the sick and injured in Caen
hospital from a direct Allied hit, by dipping sheets in pails of blood
and laying them outside the hospital in a giant cross shape. The hospital
was never hit.
Raimund Steiner German veteran, D-Day
Raimund Steiner was born in 1920, in Innsbruck, Austria, into a middle-class
family. He was liberal and frequently clashed
with Nazi sympathizers.
Steiner was forced to enlist in April 1939 and saw
action in Russia, Finland and Yugoslavia, before being sent to the French
Channel coast at the end of 1943.
In France he took over command of the Merville Battery
on the Normandy coast on 19 May after its previous commander had been
killed in an air raid.
After D-Day, Steiner and his men resisted all subsequent
attacks by Allied troops and held out until 16 August when they quietly
The Military Leaders
The son of a Bishop, Monty had an unhappy childhood and was briefly
married, before losing his wife in tragic circumstances.
The Army had been his life before marriage and it became
his family again after his wife's death.
Throughout the last years of the war he lived and worked
in a simple war caravan a monkish existence. He
didn't drink or smoke and was very intolerant of those who did smoke.
He liked to surround himself with bright, slightly unconventional
men and preferred the company of junior officers. Monty was always awkward
in the company of senior colleagues.
He exhibited a hard-bitten mean streak in his dealings
with those he had taken against and, once he had formed an opinion of
someone, it was hard to change his mind.
He had very few close friends, but he had a genuine
concern for ordinary soldiers and was careful not to waste lives in
He was an inspirational figure in the desert and in
Normandy, making an effort to be seen by frontline troops and distributing
magazines and cigarettes to soldiers he came across.
He had been wounded in World War One and decorated and
always demonstrated great personal courage.
As a General, Monty was a great planner, meticulous
in his attention deal. His critics suggest he was not a good improviser
too cautious on the battlefield. His record, however, speaks
Dwight David Eisenhower was born in Texas in 1890 and brought up in
He excelled at sport at school and received a cadetship
to West Point military academy.
Eisenhower spent the Twenties and early Thirties in
staff jobs, including assistant to the Chief of Staff, General Douglas
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, General George C Marshall
called Eisenhower to Washington where he was able to demonstrate his
considerable leadership skills.
He was rewarded with command of the Allied Forces' landing
in North Africa in November 1942, which led to the consequent liberation
of Sicily and southern Italy.
In December 1943, he was appointed Supreme Commander
of the Allied Expeditionary Force and was briefed on the operation that
would take the Allies back into Occupied France.
On D-Day, 1944, Eisenhower (Ike) commanded more than
two million men from a dozen nationalities in an invasion that changed
the course of the war.
After the War, Ike became the army chief of staff and
then president of Columbia University.
He left to become supreme commander of the newly formed
In 1952, he was persuaded to run for president. "I
like Ike" was an irresistible slogan and Eisenhower won a sweeping
He served two terms, backing moderate domestic policies
and international alliances to ease the tensions of the Cold War.
He died in Washington on 28 March 1969.
Johannes Eugen Rommel was born on 15 November 1891, in Heidenheim, Germany.
During World War One he fought as a lieutenant in France,
Romania and Italy, moving up the ranks in the inter-war years.
Having been made a general in 1939, Rommel was given
command of the 7th Panzer Division in February 1940.
Despite being a novice at commanding armoured units,
he quickly grasped the great potential of mechanised and armoured troops.
Just a year later, in February 1941, he was appointed
commander of the German troops in Libya and went on to score some of
his greatest successes.
Hitler accordingly promoted him to field marshal. However,
Rommel and his army were defeated at El-Alamein and, in March 1943,
he returned home on Hitler's orders.
At the start of 1944, Rommel was given command of Army
Group B in Northern France and ordered to defend the region against
almost inevitable Allied invasion.
He set about indefatigably reinforcing the 'Atlantic
Wall' defences that had been neglected due to pressure from the Russians
in the east.
As early as autumn 1943, Rommel had become convinced
that the war could no longer be won and he thought that Hitler was the
root of the problem.
The war with the Allies needed to be resolved so that
the real enemies, the communists to the east, could be dealt with. But
Hitler would not consider making peace with the Western powers.
Rommel became entwined in some of his colleagues' clandestine
opposition to Hitler.
After Hitler was nearly killed in an assassination attempt, suspicion
fell on many people, including Rommel.
On 14 October 1944, two generals visited his home and
gave him the choice that Hitler had decreed.
Rommel was to have either a traitor's trial, which would
shame his family, or commit suicide and be given a state funeral with
Rommel choose the latter option and died the same day
A rich Californian and talented professional soldier, Patton was something
of an actor and always carried a silver-handled pistol in a holster.
Soldiers of the US 3rd Army were as proud to serve
under 'blood and guts' Patton as 8th Army veterans were of their commander,
Patton hated Montgomery, in particular, and the British
He did not think Eisenhower was much of a soldier, either,
although Ike had saved his career; Patton had once struck a soldier
he believed was malingering.
He would swear like a company seargant in almost any
But he was well-educated, familiar with the great classical
commanders and was want to compare himself to Alexander the Great.
Like Monty, he was a veteran of World War One and always
exhibited great personal courage but, unlike Monty, his flare was for
the unscripted battle.
Adam Kemp (Commissioner, BBC)
Adam Kemp is the BBC's Commissioner for Specialist Factual, Arts and
Current Affairs for Independents and Nations.
He has initiated the Dunkirk, Hawking and Pompeii landmark
films and been executive producer on more than 70 BBC factual series
and specials including the Emmy and BAFTA award-winning Walking With
Dinosaurs Specials, George Orwell: A Life In Pictures, Killing Hitler,
Country Parish, Elephants: Spy In The Herd, Two Fat Ladies, Century
Road, Children Of Crime, Neighbours At War, Nightclub, Simon's Journey,
Gaytime TV, Money, Money, Money and Finest Hour.
Richard Dale (Director/Producer)
Richard worked as a director for the BBC's Walking with Cavemen.
As a documentary director Richard has made a number
of award winning and critically acclaimed films for BBC ONE and BBC
TWO, including The Human Body.
Richard read Natural Sciences at Christ's College, Cambridge, and joined
the BBC as an assistant producer in 1987.
He became producer of Tomorrow's World in 1989.
Tim Bradley (Producer)
Tim worked at the BBC between 1990 and 2000, where his production credits
include Spender, Miss Marple, Casualty and East Enders.
Other credits include producer on the first series of
Teachers for Channel 4 and head of production for ITV's Boudicca.
Peter Georgi (Director/Producer)
Peter was series producer on Walking with Cavemen, and produced an acclaimed
film for the BBC ONE science series QED, following the courageous attempt
of half-paralysed ex-Royal Marine Sgt Reggie Perrin to climb Alaska's
He also produced and directed the BBC's first large format (IMAX) film,
The Human Body.
D-Day To Berlin
Laurence Rees (executive producer)
Laurence is currently the Creative Director of BBC History.
In 1994, he launched Reputations, the BBC's historical
biographical strand, and went on to become editor of the award-winning
Timewatch strand, for which he won three Emmy Awards.
Laurence has a raft of acclaimed history series to
his name, including the six-part series for BBC TWO The Nazis - A Warning
From History, which won him a BAFTA award in 1998.
Andrew Williams (series producer)
Andrew joined the BBC in 1986 as producer on Newsnight, and went on
to become Assistant Editor on Panorama.
He produced a ground-breaking series on the Provisional
IRA and Sinn Fein called The Provos, before joining the BBC History
Unit to write and produce for Timewatch and Reputation strands.
He produced the award-winning Battle of the Atlantic
and wrote the accompanying book.
He has also written the book to accompany D-Day To Berlin.