Today is the 70th Anniversary of D-Day, the Allied invasion of Normandy, France. Three of my relatives participated in this event. My dad, Henry, landed with his unit on Omaha Beach. He described to me how most of the men were violently seasick: how in this condition they had to climb over the side of the transport down web netting with full equipment onto landing craft rolling in the heavy sea with full equipment (if you fell into the water you drowned); and how they landed on the beach sick and scared staggering through a hail of bullets. The photo shows my dad on his captured German motorcycle.
Other relatives involved in D-Day included my uncle John with the pathfinders of the 82nd Airborne who parachuted behind German lines near Sainte-Mère-Église. He was wounded in the drop and killed in an aid station. On the German side of my family I discovered recently that a relative now living in the States was with the 12th SS Panzer Division HJ fighting opposite the Canadians on D-Day.
I’m researching and preparing a novel based on my dad’s experiences as well the Luftwaffe pilot he killed in action and, now, my cousin with the Panzer Division who also participated in the Battle of the Bulge opposite my dad’s unit.