Operation Overlord 1944-2014 - a personal retrospective
The 70th anniversary of D-Day in 2014 got me thinking of those momentous events of 70 years ago that started with the biggest seaborne invasion in history and which culminated with the liberation of Europe in April 1945.
Over the years we have had a number of artefacts relating to Operation Overlord. Some have been very modest whilst a few have been rather special. One that fitted both criteria was a standard brass Ship’s Clock, made by Smiths of Cricklewood, which we discovered in a local charity shop. Despite not working, I agreed a deal at a modest price. Whilst leaving the shop the manager remembered the clock came with a key that I may as well have. It turned out to be more than "just a key"’. The brass fob attached was stamped Engine Room Clock and on the reverse L.C.T. 889!
All too often the provenance of the kit we buy has been lost down the years, but here we had tangible information for further research. I subsequently contacted Tony Chapman, the ever helpful historian/archivist of the LST and Landing Craft Association (Royal Navy), who was able to advise:-
HMLCT 889 was on Sword beach on D-Day as part of the 32nd Group, delivering the Royal Artillery. Initially the guns started firing whilst afloat prior to withdrawing to unshackle, beach and unload. LCT 889 was a Mk4 Landing Craft and she survived both D-Day and the war.
So often research leads up a dead end, but here our charity shop buy had scored a jackpot. Today the same modest engine room clock ticks away happily in our wheelhouse studio here at the Oldnautibits HQ, enjoying a well earned retirement. If this preamble has whetted your appetite for more on the same, then please browse our related features.
These are written in three linked, but separate, parts with the added benefit of a couple of slide shows for visitors who wish to enjoy those life changing times in 1944 and remember the sacrifice made by all those involved 70 years ago......