Decoys and deception were just as much a part of the D-Day campaign as the fighters in the air and the troops on the ground. Operation Taxable was conducted on 6 June 1944 and involved aluminium foil being dropped from 16 Lancasters which acted as a 'window' and blocked German radar. Wing Commander John Bell MBE was a Bomb Aimer with 617 Squadron and he recalls what it was like on that night.
Today sees the release of a new book called Living in the Slipstream: Life as an RAF Wife, a collection of stories told by wives of RAF personnel. The book includes a foreword from HRH The Duchess of Cambridge and 100% of the authors' profits will be shared between the RAF Benevolent Fund and the Royal Air Force Association. Alison Bairsto who is one of the editors of the book tells us more about it.
LAC Eric Reedman, 91, landed on Gold Beach on 16 June 1944 where his unit, Advanced HQ, 80 Wing made their way two miles inland to Tour en Besson. Although the Allied Forces were still advancing, Eric and his unit set up a convoy in the relative quiet of an orchard – until he found himself being shot at by enemy aircraft.
Omaha beach was the largest of the five beaches and heavily fortified by the Germans. The Americans suffered huge losses here as they made their advance. Twenty-three-year-old Lee Wrake was transporting trucks onto Omaha beach when he was hit in the chest by shrapnel. Prior to that he had saved a man, who had been hit in the stomach, from drowning.
In the early hours of 6 June 1944 thousands of Allied troops had begun landing on the beaches of Normandy in northern France at the start of a major offensive against the Germans. Sergeant Lee Wrake, 94, was a mechanic in the RAF, responsible for transporting vehicles on a landing barge, unbeknown to him at the time, loaded with radar equipment on to Omaha beach.
RAF chef Richy Hartley recently completed a trek to Machu Picchu to raise money for our work. In this guest blog, Richy tells us how the trek went.
Ninety-one year old Eric Reedman was a 21-year-old Leading Aircraftman with Advanced HQ, 80 Wing at the start of D-Day. Two days before D-Day he was posted to Old Sarum, Wiltshire, where his unit waited to make their way to Gold Beach.
East Renfrewshire MP Jim Murphy, Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, has been clocking up hundreds of miles running around his constituency whilst preparing to run the Edinburgh marathon for the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund.
A team at RAF Lossiemouth will be raising money for us this September by doing a 3000-mile motorcycle ride which will see them visiting various RAF stations across the UK.
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.