Friday, 5 November 2010

D-Day Crossing

Officers and men were split up into their various boat loads, and on D minus 2 started to embark on Landing Craft Infantry. One might have expected very high tension in face of such a mighty undertaking, but on the contrary, the feelings appeared to be calm as if yet another of the many exercises on similar lines was about to take place. Food on board was very satisfactory, fresh vegetables and bread being supplied to augment the Compo rations.

The journey across was uneventful, the sea being comparatively calm until approximately two hours before the landing, when it became rather choppy and made a number of people seasick, though tablets to prevent this had been issued which proved a great help to some.

1st Lt Willis Photo of one of 2 RUR Landing Craft LCI (L) No. 375 at sea during training

The huge convoy of which the Battalion was a part, and the enormous number of Allied aircraft seen making for the Continent kept spirits bouyant.

Just before the convoy turned inwards to the shore, German coastal batteries opened fire and shells fell in the convoy; this delayed the landing slightly whilst the assault brigade put them out of action.

Our first reaction on seeing the coast was how very familiar it all looked until we realized that it was the wave top view that we had spent such a long time memorizing. It was rather a surprise to see so many of the houses still standing apparently undamaged as one had the impression that everything would have been flattened.

4 Commando landing on Sword Beach

Sword Beach Queen Red (La Breche) - Commandos of 1st Special Service Brigade landing from LCI(S) at 8.40am Brigadier Lord Lovat to right of column and bagpiper Bill Millin



OPERATION NEPTUNE - 3 BRITISH INFANTRY DIVISION GROUP LANDING TABLE
Extract of  Landing Timetable for 
2nd Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles
(Issued in conjunction with 3 British Infantry Division OO No 1 dated 19 Mar 44)
Transcribed by Michel Sabarly from National Archives records WO 319/3075
H Hour on D-Day for Sword Beach was 7.25am


Craft LTIN/Craft Troops Vehicle Parties Equip Description Landing REMARKS
H+240 353 LCT(4) 6 6 bicycle airborne QUEEN WHITE ) Recce party
H+285 367 LCT(4) 21 6 1 car 5 cwt 4x4 QUEEN WHITE
H+285 367 LCT(4) 1 carrier univ QUEEN WHITE COs
H+285 367 LCT(4) 14 bicycle airborne QUEEN WHITE
H+285 367 LCT(4) 1 MC QUEEN WHITE
H+285 370 LCT(4) 10 2 carrier mortar QUEEN WHITE
H+285 370 LCT(4) 2 MC QUEEN WHITE loaded
H+285 371 LCT(4) 5 1 carrier mortar QUEEN RED
H+285 371 LCT(4) 1 MC QUEEN RED loaded on carrier
H+285 372 LCT(4) 3 1 carrier univ QUEEN RED coy comd
H+285 372 LCT(4) 1 MC QUEEN RED loaded on carrier
H+285 373 LCT(4) 15 1 carrier mortar QUEEN RED
H+285 373 LCT(4) 2 carrier univ QUEEN RED carrier pl
H+285 373 LCT(4) 3 MC QUEEN RED loaded on carriers
H+285 374 LCT(4) 5 1 carrier mortar QUEEN RED
H+285 374 LCT(4) 1 MC QUEEN RED loaded on carrier
H+285 375 LCT(4) 7 1 carrier univ QUEEN RED coy comd
H+285 375 LCT(4) 1 carrier mortar QUEEN RED
H+285 375 LCT(4) 1 MC QUEEN RED loaded on carrier
H+285 376 LCT(4) 6 2 carrier univ QUEEN RED coy comds
H+285 376 LCT(4) 2 MC QUEEN RED loaded on carriers
H+330 391 LCI(L) 200 200 bicycle airborne QUEEN WHITE
H+330 392 LCI(L) 143 133 bicycle airborne QUEEN WHITE Bn HQ craft
H+330 393 LCI(L) 200 200 bicycle airborne QUEEN WHITE
H+360 402 LCT(4) 20 4 carrier univ QUEEN WHITE incl 2 carriers carrier pl
H+360 402 LCT(4) 2 gun 6 pr A tk QUEEN WHITE
H+360 402 LCT(4) 2 MC QUEEN WHITE loaded on carriers
H+360 403 LCT(4) 17 3 carrier univ QUEEN WHITE
H+360 403 LCT(4) 2 gun 6 pr A tk QUEEN WHITE
H+360 403 LCT(4) 3 MC QUEEN WHITE loaded on carriers
H+360 404 LCT(4) 23 4 carrier univ QUEEN WHITE
H+360 404 LCT(4) 2 gun 6 pr A tk QUEEN WHITE
H+360 404 LCT(4) 1 carrier mortar QUEEN WHITE
H+360 404 LCT(4) 1 MC QUEEN WHITE loaded on carrier



Note: The LTIN Serial Number was a temporary landing timetable number allocated to each craft for D-Day and, whilst often similar, is different to the permanent Craft Hull Number which a craft retained throughout its service. Following extensive investigation of landing timetables combined with photographic and video evidence Michel Sabarly's current assessment of the Hull Number/LTIN match for Group 16 Landing Craft Infantry (LCI) craft which included the bulk of the 9th Brigade (including 2nd Lincolnshire; 1st Kings Own Scottish Borderers ; 2nd Royal Ulster Rifles) is:


Group 16, carrying the marching troops of 9th British Infantry Brigade
Craft Number and corresponding LTIN
Port Column (Queen Red) Starboard Column (Queen White)
2 Lincolns 1 Kings Own Scottish Borderers
LTIN 394 = LCI(L) 390 LTIN 388 = LCI(L) 376 (Flotilla Leader)
LTIN 395 = LCI(L) 385 LTIN 389 = LCI(L) 241 or 384 or 387 or 388 
LTIN 396 = LCI(L) 389 LTIN 390 = LCI(L) 241 or 384 or 387 or 388 
2 Royal Ulster Rifles
LTIN 391 = LCI(L) 241 or or 375 or 384 or 388 
LTIN 392 = LCI(L) 241 or or 375 or 384 or 388 
LTIN 393 = LCI(L) 241 or or 375 or 384 or 388 

Hence it can be summised that the bulk of the 2nd Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles are most likely to have landed on Queen White beach (Opposite Exit 11) at around 1pm on the 6th June on 3 of the following 4 Landing Craft Infantry:
  • LCI (L) Hull Number 375 - confirmed by personal accounts of 1st Lieutenant Harry Willis and A W (Paddy) White who both crewed LCI (L) 375
  • LCI (L) Hull Number 241 and/or
  • LCI (L) Hull Number 384 and/or
  • LCI (L) Hull Number 388


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