John 'Jackie' Reid was a pilot with 605 Squadron at the time of D-Day. He and his Observer Ray Phillips and two other crews were put on special duties and directed to go to Caen on the night of 5/6 June to attack anti-aircraft guns and lights before the airborne troops went in. In an extract from his Operations Records book, John describes events of that night.
In his notes, John wrote: "June! What a month! The most eventful of the War. 01.30 hours on 6th June saw the beginning of the invasion from the West. Three aircraft of 605 Squadron were seconded for 'Special Duties'.
"They [the Squadron] patrolled the landing area (by airborne troops) around Caen and dealt most decidedly with the gun and searchlight positions and bombed a bridge held by German troops.
"The whole patrol was most effectively carried out. On this night 15 other aircraft of 605 patrolled various airfields in support of the airborne landings.
"The few nights after "D" Day the Squadron was kept busy, often putting out as many as 16 to 18 aircraft and many times 10 aircraft in the one night."
In a letter home written on 9 June 1944, John stated how proud he was of his role in the D-Day operations. Sadly, John was killed on 26 June 1944 when the aircraft he was in crashed into flames on a railway line half a mile from Margate Station.
This blog is in memory of all those men who did not return.
With thanks to Norman Southam