History Podcasts

Marching to the Sound of Gunfire - North-West Europe 1944-1945, Patrick Delaforce

Marching to the Sound of Gunfire - North-West Europe 1944-1945, Patrick Delaforce

Marching to the Sound of Gunfire - North-West Europe 1944-1945, Patrick Delaforce

Marching to the Sound of Gunfire - North-West Europe 1944-1945, Patrick Delaforce

This book is made up of hundreds of first hand accounts of the British Army's battles between D-Day and the end of the Second World War in Europe, with most taking up less than a page. Most battles are described by several different eye witnesses, giving a variety of views of the same events. The author himself took part in the campaign, and includes several of his own accounts, which tend to have a self deprecating tone.

The author assumes that you are familiar with the events being described. There are brief introductions to set the scene, but this isn't intended to be a narrative history of the campaign. Instead we are getting the views of the men who actually fought in the battles,

These accounts make it clear that from the point of view of the infantry the campaign fell into four broad phases. The first was the hard fighting in Normandy, characterised by costly assaults on strongly held German positions. Next came the 'great swan' - the rapid period of advance across France and Belgium, with the troops greeted by cheering crowds and only occasional resistance. Third was the period on the German border and the Rhine, where the hard fighting resumed, with the added misery of a cold wet winter. Four was the final advance into Germany, with more resistance than during the 'great swan', but also the feeling that the war was nearly over.

This is a very useful book, giving a clear picture of the horrors of war as seen by the fighting men, as well as the bond between soldiers and the occasional elation of victory.

1 - Overlord
2 - Beachhead Assault
3 - Additional Battles in the Bridgehead, June
4 - The War of Attrition Continues - July
5 - August Break-out
6 - Operation Neptune and the Great Swan
7 - Operation Garden
8 - Long Hard Winter - the Maas and Peel Country
9 - The Ardennes and the Battle of the Bulge
10 - Breaking the Siegfried Line: the Reichwald Battles
11 - From the Rhine to the Baltic: 'Twilight of the Gods'

Author: Patrick Delaforce
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 224
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Year: 2014 edition of 1996 original

Marching to the Sound of Gunfire by Patrick Delaforce (Paperback, 2007)

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Pepys in Love: Elizabeth's Story

Delaforce, P.

Published by Bishopsgate Press Ltd, 1986

Used - Hardcover
Condition: Good

Condition: Good. This is an ex-library book and may have the usual library/used-book markings inside.This book has hardback covers. In good all round condition. Dust Jacket in good condition. Please note the Image in this listing is a stock photo and may not match the covers of the actual item,600grams, ISBN:

53rd Welsh

Richard Williams (Major Hazard), Glamorgan Home Guard, for excellent photographs and a source of never ending banter!

Barry Ward (Old Guard), Glamorgan Home Guard, for helping us get started with excellent advice and always being approachable.

Peter Bement, for supplying letters relating to 4 RWF during the Battle of Evrecy

Ade Pitman, for putting us in contact with the NVA for for introducing us to many of them in Normandy 09

The community of WW2Talk.com for helping me rekindle my passion in the Second World War and for putting me in contact with many invaluable sources relating to 53rd Welsh Division.


 Below is a list of secondary sources which we have used for our impression and historical research, the list is not exhaustive but offers the starting point for additional research.

Decision in Normandy - Carlo D'Este

Jocks, Dragons and Sospans - Jonathan Ware (not yet published)

Marching to the Sound of Gunfire - Patrick Delaforce

Over The Battlefield: Operation Goodwood, Ian Daglish

Red Crown and Dragon: 53rd Welsh Division in North-West Europe, 1944 - 1945 - Patrick Delaforce

Red Dragon - John Graves and PK Kemp

Steel Inferno: I SS Panzer Corps in Normandy - Michael Reynolds

Sons of the Reich: II SS Panzer Corps, Michael Reynolds

Team Spirit: The Administration of 53rd Welsh Division, AD Bolland

The Companion to the British Army, 1939-45, George Forty

The Panzer Legions, A Guide to the German Army Tank Divisions of WWII and Their Commanders

The Pendulum of Battle: Operation Goodwood - July 1944, Christopher Dunphie

Universal Carriers, Volumes 1 + 2, Nigel Watson

Welsh Spearhead: A History of 53rd Reconnaissance Regiment, 1941-46

Welsh Bridges to the Elbe, 53rd Welsh Division Engineers, John H Roberts

Other Research

The National Archives - original War Diaries and maps

The South Wales Borderers Museum - ADB Bolland's Scrapbook

  IWM Collections Search  - Online source of photographs held by the IWM

Photographs and Personal Testimony

53rd Recce photographs taken originally by Trooper Robert Louis Hughes, many thanks to Lewis Hughes (son) for permission.

53rd Recce photographs by Lance-Sergeant Albert Victor Fulcher and his rank on demob was L/Sgt, many thanks to David Carter (grandson) for permission.

4 RWF photographs and letters by Lieutenant (later Captain) JHP Bement. many thanks to Peter Bement (son) for permission.

ل RWF photographs and story by Sergeant Frank 'Pip' Lewis Shipley, many thanks to Robert Shipley and Linda Monk.

1/5th Welch photographs and information about William Mazzei and Alfred Monoghan, many thanks to Darin Mazzei.

1/5th Welch photographs and information about Major Adrian David Turnball, many thanks to Debbie Warwick.

4th Welch photographs and information about Leonard Williams, Walter James Williams and William (Bill) Henry Williams, many thanks to Susan Pritchard.

71 Anti-Tank Regiment (RWF) photograph and information about Wilfred Jones, many thanks to Martin Harley.

212 Field Ambulance photographs and information about Corporal J Walbeck, many thanks to Jeff Walbeck.

Marching to the Sound of Gunfire - North-West Europe 1944-1945, Patrick Delaforce - History

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In this exciting and revealing book, scores of British soldiers tell their amazing stories of life &ndash and death &ndash in the front line of the Allies' advance from Normandy to Hitler's Germany. In eleven months of bitter fighting between D-Day and VE Day the combined efforts of the British and their allies' armed forces ground down their ruthless enemy in the pursuit of victory. Each and every man has a unique story to tell, whether they were infantry, tank crews, gunners, sappers or in vital logistic and supporting units. Their
experiences make for powerful and fascinating reading. First-hand accounts of the landings, liberation of towns and villages, fierce actions, not all successful, bring home to the reader the cost of war as well as the magnitude of the venture. Particularly evocative is the range of emotions that were experienced by those involved, be they generals or the most junior soldiers. The passage of time means that many of these 'voices' will be heard no more but fortunately Marching to the Sound of Gunfire captures their inspiring testimonies for posterity.

As featured in.

Military History Monthly August 2016

This is a very useful book, giving a clear picture of the horrors of war as seen by the fighting men, as well as the bond between soldiers and the occasional elation of victory.

History of War Web

Another very readable book from an author well known to students of the Second World War. This superb book is illustrated and has a useful three page index.

The Armourer

Whilst this book can be read cover-to-cover, it also has the advantage of being equally readable as a collection of individual accounts, each of which can stand alone as an important personal testament. The text is supplemented by several useful maps and black and white photos plus a number of evocative contemporary pencil drawings.

As a record of war, as experienced through the eyes of those who faced enemy fire directly, this publication is worthy of its current reprint.

Military Modelling

This is a fascinating book. The author has accounts from soldiers from across all arms and ranks and each one provides a insight into a particular event or activity. The accounts are varied and describe moments of peace or action and vary from the very funny to the very sad the descriptions provided by padres and what they were required to do are especially moving and poignant.

Army Rumour Service

Of all of the multitude of books that provide insight into the Second World War, this is one of those few books at the top of the list that manage to convey what happened, through the unique experiences of a cross section of people who took part in the struggle, tankers, sappers, foot soldiers, gunners and all the 'trades' of an army.


About Patrick Delaforce

Patrick Delaforce served with 11th Armoured Division during the advance through NW Europe.

After a career in the wine trade he became a professional writer. Among his books in print with Pen and Sword are Churchill’s Desert Rats in North Africa, Burma, Sicily and Italy, Wellington Le Beau and Monty’s Marauders.

In 2015 he was appointed to the rank of Chavalier in the Ordre National de la Legion d’honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour). This is in recognition of his ‘acknowledged military engagement and steadfast involvement in the Liberation of France during the Second World War’.


The Great Adventure

The years of training and exercises had honed the British Army – Burger, Grab, Smash, Crown, Anchor, Leap Year, Baron, Kilbride, Millhouse, Blindman, Euclid, Fabius and scores of others. HM King George VI and Winston Churchill had visited most units and Monty had stood on the bonnet of his jeep a hundred times – ‘Gather round, I want to talk to you.’ In schoolboy language, with cricketing terms, he reduced the complexities of war to its simplest ingredients – ‘We have trained, we are fit, we are well-led, we will win.’ The troops loved it.

Undoubtedly in May–June 1944 morale was extremely high. Long-lasting partnerships were made between the gunner regiments and ‘their’ infantry battalions which they supported. In the armoured divisions, but rarely elsewhere, the partnership between motorized infantry and the tank regiments proved itself time and again in battle. Over six hundred young Canadian officers under the codename Canloan volunteered, and were gratefully integrated into British county infantry battalions. Every British infantry division received about forty Canloan officers. For instance, 3rd British Division received thirty-nine, of whom ten were killed in action and five were awarded the Military Cross. Monty had chosen his old division, 3rd British, and his desert faithful, 50th Tyne/Tees, to spearhead the invasion.

Padre Iain Wilson, chaplain to 1 KOSB wrote:

It is difficult to resist the temptation to dwell upon the years between 1940 and 1944 when we trained and journeyed together, leading a curiously self-contained life from the Sussex Downs to the Moray Firth. The winter snows on Salisbury Plain, the gentle Devonshire valleys, the woods and gardens of Buckinghamshire, the cliffs above Dover, the wild lands and seas of Moidart and Morar, the ancient peace and simplicity of our Borderland – in these settings we lived, worked and played together, sharing all things that men can share, from our very uniform and food, to our worship of God. It had greatly changed us from the exhausted men who had staggered off destroyers and minesweepers and countless ‘little ships’ in June 1940.

Jackie’s ‘Boys’

Captain John Stirling 2 i/c ‘A’ Sqn, 4/7 Royal Dragoon Guards, whose Sherman tanks landed on D-Day, described his fellow officers waiting for the ‘off’:

Jackie Goldsmid was the father of the family in a very real sense [Sqn CO]. Ten to fifteen years older than the rest, a regular soldier in the best sense of the word. A big, dark man with eyebrows that could beetle his eyes out of sight on occasion. He commanded respect, endowed with a very keen brain and a conscience, gifted with a great sense of humour, sympathy and considerable charm. He could possess a worse liver in the morning than most people. David Richards was the other captain. Twenty-eight, medium height, black curly hair and eyes as full of life as a mountain stream when the fish are rising. Hunting, horses, farming and the country were in his blood. He was an invaluable link between Jackie and the ‘boys’ – the troopleaders. It is still true as ever that it is the officers who make or mar. There was not a bad troop in ‘A’ Sqn, and the ‘boys’ were the reason. Peter Aizlewood led 1st Troop. A boyish, twenty-year-old Wykehamist with a superiority of manner and a wisdom that sat strangely on such young shoulders. 2nd Troop, Mike Trasenster, another Wykehamist, but tall and blond, temperamental as a racehorse, with a magnificent predilection for arguments. He expected to give orders and take the lead and his men expected it too. Charles Pillman ran 3rd Troop. Widely travelled, older than the others, both in years and appearance. Tall and dark, with a lithe, strong body, he looked the athlete he was. Full of fun, always ready to take everything that was coming. Garth Alastair Morrison, 4th Troop, was short, thickset, red-faced with tousled hair. He lacked the superiority of manner of the others – but he was the leader of an excellent troop. Geoffrey Mitchell, 5th Troop, with a simple nature, babyish face, tall, slim, almost frail figure with perfect manners – quiet and efficient.

These were John Stirling’s companions-in-arms – Jackie’s ‘Boys’. On D-Day Pillman and Mitchell were killed, and Aizlewood badly wounded.

Grubby is Mad

Private Albert J. Kings, 1 Worcesters with the ‘green’ 43rd Wessex Wyvern Division, described his officer.

We joined the 43rd Div, our training was stepped up. We were being whipped into a real fighting unit. Our officer and NCOs did their job well, we were really good and we knew it. We were brimming over with confidence in ourselves and our ability. I reckoned I was the best Brengunner there was, my reflexes were quick, my work rate was high and I was very fleet of foot. That may sound conceited but this was the sort of confidence we possessed. There was a certain rapport between all ranks which is difficult to describe. We were behind Freddie Henry [12 Platoon OC] to a man, and the same for Major [Algy] Grubb, our Coy Co. [Later in France] a batch of reinforcements arrived. One said to one of my mates, ‘They tell me the Major of B Coy is mad.’ The reply came back in the best soldiers’ language. ‘Grubby, he is mad, mad as an effing hatter, but his company will follow him anywhere. If you’re not prepared to do that, piss off to some other company.’

The long campaign trail to the Baltic


Private Bob Day, a veteran of Salerno, served with the East Surreys and 2/6 Queen’s in the Italian campaign where he was wounded by a mortar fragment. Having recovered in England from his ‘blighty’ wound he wrote:

I began to miss the comradeship of men in danger, a comradeship I have never quite found since. I missed simple pleasures such as brewing tea in the shelter of a slit trench or deserted farmhouse which can mean so much more than luxurious living. Such were the thoughts of a brash 20-year-old and when D-Day came on June 6th and the first flying bombs, V-1s, came over our barracks one night, I resolved to rejoin a fighting unit. I became part of a reinforcement draft which set sail from Dover.

Bob joined the 1st Leicesters and celebrated his twenty-first birthday in a Dutch barn on the way to Nijmegen in November 1944.

The Tank Crew

Of all the close-knit ‘families’ going to war, the four or five individuals in a Sherman, Cromwell or Churchill tank have to live with each other at very close quarters under awful stress. John Stirling, 4/7 Royal Dragoon Guards, describes his Sherman tank crew:

Except for myself they all came from the North. Nixon was the driver from Northumberland. An older man, about 35, quiet, patient and utterly reliable. Vallance as his mate, the co-driver also from Northumberland. Tall and quiet, an ex-policeman with a cool, sound head, a great worker with the strength for the many jobs in a tank with big weights to be lifted, strains to be borne. Up in the turret with me the loader-wireless operator Tarran, a Geordie, a thin-faced, slight, little man, as sharp as he looked and as quick. For both those jobs you need to be quick to do them well. Murphy was the gunner, a little, dark man from Glasgow, a bit older, who had been a miner, with great resolution and sense of humour. I could never understand that terrible brogue!

This was my tank crew. I never hope to have a gamer, more willing, more reliable set of friends in any walk of life.

Keep them Guessing

Secrecy was of course paramount and the British Army went to extraordinary pains to ensure that the enemy was kept guessing. Lieutenant Raymond Ellis, with his 82 Assault Squadron Royal Engineers and their AVREs (Churchill engineer tanks), Arks (bridging tanks) and tanks bearing fascines for filling in trenches or bomb craters, were due to land on D-Day on the well-defended beaches – but where?

I was to command No. 5 Beach Breaching Lane. About two days before we loaded the tanks on Q2 Hard on to the LCT an ‘Information tent’ was set up guarded night and day as it was ‘Top Secret’ Plus. In it tables were laid out on which were displayed large-scale maps of the landing area with the exact positions of the six ‘Beach breaching lanes’. It was our task to make our way through the beach obstacles, through the low sandhills for about 120 yards, which were mined, on to the lateral road. The steel tetrahedra, minefields, gun positions and emplacements and tracks were marked. There were also excellent aerial photographs taken coming in from the sea. A prominent sanatorium was an outstanding feature and a large blockhouse near by. All of us wondered where exactly this beach was, which had been illustrated in so much detail. Perhaps Calais or was it Normandy? At the top of the photographs was a broad black streak which obviously concealed the name of the key places. Some inquisitive soldiers soon discovered that by wetting your handkerchief and giving the photo a rub, the name of the coastal village was clearly decipherable. But names like Le Hamel and Arromanches meant nothing to us, so we were not much the wiser!

Waiting for the ‘Off’

For weeks the British Army was held captive in scores of camps. Lionel Roebuck of the East Yorkshires recalls:

On the last pay day before leaving camp each man was given 200 French francs mostly in 5-franc notes. They were blue-green in colour, square and had a picture of the French Flag on the reverse side. In addition we all had a tin of Taverner & Rutledge quality boiled sweets and two FLs [condoms]. The latter were used to protect rifle barrels from the sand and seawater during the landing and by some as waterproof containers for watches and other valuables. Although the game of Housey-Housey run by the NCOs, who were on to a good thing, was the only officially allowed gambling game, additional gambling schools on the results of card games, using a mixture of the new issue money and English money, were soon started. Pitch and Toss using any flat secluded area to toss up two half pennies, became a popular way to gamble, betting on two heads or two tails, one of each resulting in a new throw. Lectures were given on the correct behaviour and attitude towards the French civilians and unofficially the problems of taking too many prisoners!

Eventually, for security reasons, all the camps were turned into ‘concentration’ laagers.

Moving Up

Major W.R. Birt’s Flail tanks of 22 Dragoons were to lead the beach attack in front of 3rd Division:

0215 hrs June 2. The wait has prolonged itself. We are eight hours behind programme. Heavy with rum-laced tea we doze in the back of the car. Under the green balconies a group of soldiers have been singing for hours to the tinkle of an RAF man’s ukelele. A strong tenor leads a drowsy bee-contented hum. They sing over and over again, ‘Roll me over, love’. Then the mood changes. With notes long-drawn they turn to ‘Home, Sweet Home’ and ‘Love’s Old Sweet Song’. From the balconies close above us in the darkness, girls’ voices join in sweetly, strongly. There is a sudden move ahead of us. The ukelele and the tenor voice tumble into a truck and above the growl of the lorries we hear the lilt of ‘Goodbye, ladies’. We jerk forward and are on the loading dock. There under the arc-lamps is the great gaping mouth of our landing ship, its monstrous belly lamp-lit and up whose throat there crawls a procession of tiny men in tiny vehicles.

Long-awaited Journey

Harry Jones, No. 10 Platoon Commander, ‘X’ Company 2 KSLI recalls:

On the morning of 4th June 1944, my Platoon consisting of myself and 36 infantry soldiers, climbed into lorries and began the long-awaited journey to the South Coast. It was a warm sunny day and I was amazed at the sight of hundreds of tanks, guns, ammunition stacks and stores, lining the roads nose-to-tail. The whole countryside appeared to be one massive depot.

Harry sailed from Newhaven in a LSI. After the famous twenty-four hour delay caused by adverse weather, ‘Ike’ bravely unleashed his Anglo-Saxon armies. The troops were each issued with 200 French francs, a small booklet of French phrases, blurb about France and the French, Mae West lifebelts, chewing gum, tommy cookers, META fuel, water-sterilizing tablets, tins of twenty cigarettes, biscuits, chocolate, bullybeef, two twenty-four hour ration packs, three bags of ‘vomit’, small bottles of anti-seasick pills, compo packs, water-cans, self-heating soups and cocoa. Some lucky men who went in US-built LSIs had a luxury voyage watching Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland films in the cafeteria.

After the issue of a special assault jerkin, a light gas respirator, a new steel helmet, a brand-new battledress, BAFVs, spare underwear and boots, plus all the above, each infantryman carried a load of about 65 lb. Brengunners and the mortar platoons carried rather more. The entrenching tool/spade also was a vital ‘accessory’. Operation Overlord went active as the Liberty ships, LCTs, LCIs and craft of all kinds were filled up, despite the lacklustre working habits of the London dockers.

On Board Ship and Seasick

Corporal Clifford Arthur Payne of 2 East Yorkshires writes:

A Padre gave us a sermon on board ship and at the finish we sang the hymn ‘For those in peril on the sea’. After that we began to move again and overhead there was a terrible noise of plane engines. Of course it was dark about one or two o’clock. We learned later that it was the Airborne boys going over. I tried to sleep but it just wouldn’t come to me. Anyway I was seasick and I didn’t care if the first shell hit us, I was so bad.

The Shropshires – ‘All at Sea’

Guy Radcliffe, adjutant 2 KSLI, wrote:

Landing craft are not the ideal ships in which to make a rough Channel crossing. Their blunt bows sent cascades of spume over the ship, the quarters on LCIs are cramped and in LCTs non-existent. Most men felt none too well and on the LCTs especially it was difficult to keep dry. But the cheerfulness was amazing! Two hundred troops of 2 KSLI set sail from Portsmouth in a LSI, via Spithead to the lea of the Isle of Wight for the fleet RV at ‘Piccadilly Circus’.

Hugh Gunning, journalist and observer: ‘1st KOSB had a wretched time in their crossing of the Channel. LCTs roll like a porpoise but they have plenty of weight throbbing their way through the sea. It is a trim little vessel, functional in its design with its two ramps at the bow and every modern facility for pouring men off a ship on to a beach.’

Major H.S. Gillies was CO of ‘C’ Company:

The sea was very high – great green troughs of waves, other craft plunging and rolling as they made their way onwards. Ahead lay the coast of France, then quiet and expressionless, puffs of smoke here and there. The skies were full of aircraft circling over the fleet for its protection. Above the wind could be heard the dull thudding from the heavy guns of the battleships and cruisers [Warspite, Ramillies, Roberts, Dragon, Frobisher and Danae had guns deployed on Sword beach defences]. One of the most heartening sights was a tank landing craft from which the artillery were firing salvo after salvo of rockets onto the enemy defences.

Prayers and Confidence

Despite the issuing of anti-seasick tablets the majority of the invasion force suffered from mal de mer and some were so ill they could not fight on arrival, but the sense of confidence was awe-inspiring, as Albert J. Kings, 1 Worcesters, recalls:

At last the balloon went up and we moved to Newhaven on the LCIs. I felt excited and eager to get going. I remember standing on deck, watching the shores of home disappearing. Suddenly someone somewhere knelt down to pray and everyone joined in. How many knew in their heart that they would not be coming back. I felt sorry for those who had families, their tears were unashamed. My thoughts turned to my young wife who I had married only three months before. I thought to myself I must have been mad. She could be a widow before the year was out. I tried to look ahead to better times but I knew it would only be brought about by our efforts. I was determined to do my best. Thoughts of my death didn’t occur to me. I was going to be alright.

Albert was wounded in the foot during Market Garden and was flown back to Nottingham Hospital.

The Suffolk on Battleaxe

‘It was the worst 48 hours in my life on that landing craft,’ recalls Albert Pattison, then Platoon Sergeant of the 6-pdr A/Tank guns with 1 Suffolk. Worse than swimming 2 miles off the Dunkirk beaches in 1940, aged seventeen. ‘Isn’t it marvellous what fear can make you do!’

Private Stanley Gardner, 1 Suffolk, kept a journal:

On board the Empire Battleaxe, a converted American freighter, the boys were playing cards gambling away their last English money and starting on their new French money. At 8.45 the decks were crowded with troops – hundreds of sun-burned fit young men in khaki with their safety belts on and everyone with a black triangle on their arms. [Later] dawn was just breaking and as we looked out over the rough sea we could see a huge red glow on the horizon. This must be France. A destroyer speeding by about eight miles from us struck a mine and blew up, scattering wreckage in all directions. At 3.30 we queued up with our trays for breakfast of porridge, two hard-boiled eggs, four rounds of white bread and butter and jam and a mug of tea. We gave our rifles the once-over, filled the magazines and made sure our ammunition and grenades were ready for use. At 4.45 the word came over the loud-speaker for us to get dressed [for battle]. At 4.50 the captain told us he could see the French coast – a blazing inferno with the Navy shelling it and the RAF bombing it. Then came the order ‘Marines of ALC 23 lower away’. Slowly the winches began to turn and we slid down the ship’s side and bumped into the stormy sea. We were then seven miles from shore. We made ourselves as comfortable as possible, some sitting, some standing but all singing. New songs and old – sentimental – patriotic and ballads but we all sang.’

Stanley was twenty and destined to be taken prisoner in three weeks’ time.

A Million Trumpets Blow

‘And when the vast invasion fleets moved out silently into the windy English Channel, it was as if a million trumpets began to blow again, a great heartful chorus of sanity and freedom, heavy with menace for the Nazis, thrilling with hope for those whom they had enslaved,’ wrote Padre Iain Wilson, 1 KOSB.


D-Day reference library

Hundreds of books have been published on D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, and even more on the Second World War in general.

The D-Day Story archives contain copies of the books listed below. They can be consulted by prior appointment for reference only. We regret they are not available for lending.

If a book is missing from this list it does not mean that it is not worth reading, just that the museum does not own a copy. If you have a book that is not on this list and would like to offer it to us, please do get in touch. Note that books are only listed in one place on this page, but are often relevant to more than one section.

1. Planning and preparations for D-Day

  • Viv Acton and Derek Carter, Operation Cornwall 1940-1944. The Fall, The Helford and D-Day (Landfall Publications, 1994)
  • Max Arthur, The Silent Day. A landmark oral history of D-Day on the home front (Hodder & Stoughton, 2014)
  • Lt Col Charles C. Bates, Sea, Swell and Surf Forecasting for D-Day and Beyond. The Anglo-American Effort 1943-1945 (unpublished, 2010)
  • D.F. Beamish, D-Day: Poole (Poole Borough Council, 1984)
  • Grace Bradbeer, The Land Changed Its Face (Devon, 1973) [evacuation of the South Hams 1943-1944 so that the area could be used for training before D-Day]
  • George Bruce, Second Front Now! The Road to D-Day (Macdonald & Jane’s, 1979)
  • Lesley Burton, D-Day Our Great Enterprise (Gosport Society, 1984) [Portsmouth and Gosport area]
  • Ken Carter and Pete Johnstove, Southwick House. The D-Day Village. (1994)
  • Arthur L. Clamp, United States Naval Advanced Amphibious Base Plymouth 1943-45 (P.D.S printers, Plymouth 1994)
  • Arthur L. Clamp, Dartmouth & Kingswear During The Second World War 1939-45 (P.D.S printers, Plymouth, 1994)
  • Arthur L. Clamp, Exercises Tiger and Fabius, at Slapton Sands 1944 (Printed by P.D.S printers, Plymouth, post-1974)
  • Cyril Cunningham, The Beaulieu River Goes To War 1939-1945 (Montague Ventures, 1994)
  • Major John Dalgleish RASC, We Planned The Second Front. The Inside History of How the Second Front Was Planned (Victor Gollanz, 1945) [logistical planning for D-Day]
  • Martin Doughty (ed.), Hampshire and D-Day (Hampshire Books, 1994)
  • Ray Freeman, We Remember D-Day (Dartmouth History Research Group with Dartmouth Museum 1994) [British and American eyewitness accounts from the Dart area and Normandy]
  • Anthony Kemp, Springboard for Overlord. Hampshire and the D-Day Landings (Milestone Publications, 1984)
  • Geoffrey O’Connell, Southwick. The D-Day Village That Went to War (Ashford, Buchan & Enright, 1995)
  • Geoffrey O’Connell, Secretive Southwick. Domesday to D-Day (Willowbridge, 1984)
  • A.J. Holland, D-Day and the Beaulieu River (1984)
  • Edwin P. Hoyt, The Invasion Before Normandy. The Secret Battle of Slapton Sands (Robert Hale, 1987)
  • Anthony Kemp, Springboard for Overlord (Milestone, 1984) [Hampshire and the D-Day landings]
  • Rodney Legg, D-Day Dorset (Dorset Publishing Company, 1994)
  • Nigel Lewis, Channel Firing. The Tragedy of Exercise Tiger (Penguin Books, 1989)
  • Robin Rose-Price and Jean Parnell, The Land We Left Behind (Orchard, 2004) [WW2 years in South Hampshire and South Devon]
  • Winston G. Ramsay (ed.), After the Battle magazine, No.44 (Battle of Britain Prints International, 1984) [Slapton Sands]
  • Winston G. Ramsey (ed.), After the Battle magazine No. 84. Supreme HQs for D-Day (Battle of Britain Prints International, 1994)
  • Winston Ramsey (ed.), D-Day Then and Now, Vol. 1 (After the Battle, 1995)
  • The Ranger, Journal of the Defence Surveyors’ Association, Summer 2004 Volume 2 Number 9, D-Day Commemorative issue. [mapping for D-Day and the Battle of Normandy]
  • David Rogers, Destination D-Day. Preparations for the invasion of North-West Europe 1944 (Helion & Company, 2014)
  • Ken Small, The Forgotten Dead (Bloomsbury, 1988) [Exercise Tiger, Slapton Sands]
  • J.M. Stagg, Forecast for Overlord June 6 1944 (Ian Allan, 1971) [weather forecasting for D-Day]
  • David Stafford, Ten Days to D-Day (Little, Brown, 2003)
  • Tangmere Military Aviation Museum, D-Day at Tangmere and its Surrounding Airfields (Tangmere Military Aviation Trust, 2008)
  • Scott E. Webber, Camp Shanks 1942-1946 and Shanks Village 1946-1956 (The Historical Society of Rockland County, 1991) [embarkation from East coast of U.S.A in WWII, a scrapbook]
  • Lieut. General Sir Ronald M. Weeks, Organisation & Equipment for War (Cambridge U.P., 1950)

2. General titles on D-Day (sometimes also including the Battle of Normandy)

Also see the specific Battle of Normandy section.

  • Stephen E. Ambrose, D-Day June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II (Touchstone, 1994)
  • Stephen Badsey, D-Day From The Normandy Beaches To The Liberation Of France (Tiger Books, 1993)
  • Georges Bernage and R.Grenneville (transl. by Philippe Jutras), Invasion journal pictorial 6th June – 22nd August, 1994 (Editions Heimdal, 1983). [in French and English]
  • Mark Bowden, Our Finest Day. D-Day: June 6, 1944 (Chronicle Books, 2002)
  • David Chandler, J. Lawton Collins Jr. (eds.), The D-Day Encyclopaedia (Simon & Schuster and Helicon, 1994)
  • Richard Collier, D-Day June 6, 1944. The Normandy Landings (Cassell, 1992)
  • John St. John Cooper/The Daily Express, Invasion! (Beaverbrook Newspapers, 1954)
  • Major L.F. Ellis, Victory in the West, Vol.1 The Battle of Normandy (HMSO, 1962) [The British official history covering D-Day and the Battle of Normandy]
  • Eisenhower Foundation, D-Day, the Normandy Invasion in Retrospect (University Press Of Kansas, 1971)
  • Jonathan Falconer, D-Day, ‘Neptune’, ‘Overlord’ and the Battle of Normandy, (Haynes Publishing, 2013)
  • Jacob F. Field, D-Day in Numbers. The facts behind Operation Overlord, (Michael O’Mara Books, 2014)
  • Chris Going and Alun Jones, D-Day The Lost Evidence. Panoramic Aerial Views (Crecy Publishing, 2004)
  • Anthony Hall, Operation Overlord Day by Day (Grange Books, 2003)
  • Tony Hall (ed.), D-Day. Operation Overlord, from its planning to the liberation of Paris (Salamander Books, 1993)
  • Richard Holmes, The D-Day Experience From The Invasion To The Liberation Of Paris (Carlton, 2004)
  • Robert Kershaw, D-Day. Piercing the Atlantic Wall (Ian Allan, 2008)
  • Jonathan Mayo, D-Day minute by minute (Short Books, 2014)
  • Ian Patrick, Portraits. Anonymous Heroes. 25 years of D-Day Testimony (Musèe de l’armée 2009) [portraits of Normandy veterans, in French and English]
  • Forrest C. Pogue, United States Army in World War II, The European Theater of Operations, The Supreme Command (Office of Chief of Military History, Department of the Army, Washington D.C., 1954) [US official history]
  • Winston G. Ramsey (ed.), After the Battle magazine, No. 1. Normandy 1944 (Battle of Britain Prints International Ltd, 1973)
  • Winston Ramsey (ed.), D-Day Then and Now, Vols. 1-2 (After the Battle, 1995)
  • Cornelius Ryan, The Longest Day (New English Library, 1982)
  • Simon Trew, D-Day And The battle of Normandy. A Photographic History (Haynes Publishing, 2012)
  • Warren Tute, D-Day (Pan Books 1974)
  • Philip Warner, The D-Day Landings (Mandarin, 1990)
  • Andrew Whitmarsh, D-Day in Photographs (The History Press, 2009)
  • Eunice Wilson, The D-Day Quiz Book (Grub Street, 1994)

3. Deception plans and Operation Fortitude

  • Mary Kathryn Barbier, D-Day Deception – Operation Fortitude and the Normandy Invasion (Stackpole Books, 2009)
  • Sefton Delmer, The Counterfeit Spy (Hutchinson, 1973) [The Allied deception programme using German agents]
  • Jock Haswell, The Intelligence and Deception of the D-Day Landings (B.T. Batsford, 1979)
  • Roger Hesketh, Fortitude. The D-Day Deception Campaign (St Ermin’s Press, 1999)
  • F.H. Hinsley, British Intelligence in the Second World War, Volume 3 Part II. (HMSO, 1988)
  • Joshua Levine, Operation Fortitude – The Story of the spy Operation that saved D-Day (Harper Collins Publishers, 2011)
  • Mark Seaman (ed.), Garbo. The Spy Who Saved D-Day (National Archives, 2004)
  • John Reymond, Fortitude. South Kent’s Wartime Deception (Aits & Librabies Publications, 1994)

4. British land forces

Except airborne and commandos (see lists below). Also see sections on memoirs, British and Canadian beaches, and Battle of Normandy.

  • Anon, History of 7th Armoured Division, June 1943 – July 1945 (1945)
  • Anon, The Story of 79th Armoured Division. October 1942-June 1945 (c.1945)
  • Anon, The Wyvern in North-West Europe. Being a Short history of the 43rd Wessex Division 24th June 1944-8th May 1945. (c.1945)
  • Peter Beale, Tank Tracks, (Alan Sutton Publishing, 1995). [9th Battalion Royal Tank Regiment at war 1940-1945]
  • T.G. Cawte (ed.), 107 Heavy A.A. Regt. Royal Artillery, 1940-1945 (c.1984)
  • Lieut. Col. Howard N. Cole, Naafi in Uniform (The Forces Press (Naafi), 1982)
  • David Scott Daniell, Regimental History. The Royal Hampshire Regiment, Volume Three 1918-1954 (Gale and Polden, 1955)
  • Hugh Darby and Marcus Cunliffe, A Short Story of 21 Army Group (Gale & Polden, 1949)
  • H.J.G Dartnall, The Plane Spotters. A Medallic History of the Royal Observer Corps (Roberts, 1995)
  • Patrick Delaforce, The Black Bull. From Normandy to the Baltic with the 11th Armoured Division (Chancellor Press, 1993)
  • Patrick Delaforce, Monty’s Iron Sides. From the Normandy Beaches to Bremen with the 3rd Division (Chancellor Press, 1995) [British 3rd Division]
  • Patrick Delaforce, Monty’s Marauders. Black Rat and Red Fox: The 4th and 8th Armoured Brigades in the Second World War (Tom Donovan Publishing, 1997)
  • Patrick Delaforce, Monty’s Highlanders. 51st Highland Division in World War Two (Tom Donovan Publishing, 2000)
  • Patrick Delaforce, Taming the Panzers. Monty’s Tank Battalions: 3rd RTR at War (Amberley Publishing, 2010)
  • Patrick Delaforce, Churchill’s Desert Rats. From Normandy to Berlin with the 7th Armoured Division (Chancellor Press, 1994)
  • Patrick Delaforce, The Polar Bears. Monty’s Left Flank. From Normandy to the Relief of Holland with the 49th Division (Chancellor Press, 1995)
  • Patrick Delaforce, Red Crown & Dragon. 53rd Welsh Division in North-West Europe, 1944-1945 (Tom Donovan Publishing, 1996)
  • Patrick Delaforce, The Fighting Wessex Wyverns – From Normandy to Bremerhaven with the 43rd Wessex Division, (Alan Sutton Publishing, 1994)
  • Patrick Delaforce, Monty’s Northern Legions, 50th Northumbrian and 15th Scottish Divisions at War 1939-1945 (History Press, 2004)
  • Maj. Gen. H. Essame (compiler), The 43rd Wessex Division at war 1944-1945 (William Clowes, 1952)
  • David Fletcher, Vanguard of Victory. The 79th Armoured Division (HMSO, 1984)
  • Majors G.R. Hartwell, G.R. Pack & M.A. Edwards, The story of the 5th Battalion The Dorsetshire Regiment in North-West Europe June 1944 to May 1945 (1945)
  • Keith Jones, Sixty-four Days of a Normandy Summer. With a Tank Unit After D-Day (Robert Hale, 1990)
  • John Lincoln, Thank God and the Infantry. From D-Day to VE-Day with the 1st Battalion The Royal Norfolk Regiment (Sutton Publishing, 1994)
  • Eric Lummis, Suffolk and D-Day (1989) [1st Battalion, The Suffolk Regiment]
  • Robin McNish, Iron Division. The History of the 3rd Division (HMSO, 1978)
  • Michael R. McNorgan, The Gallant Hussars (The 1st Hussars Cavalry Fund, 2004)
  • Paul Mace, Forrard, The Story of the East Riding Yeomanry (Leo Cooper, 2001)
  • Harry Miller, Service to the Sources. The story of Naafi. (Newman Neame, 1971)
  • Lt. Col. Sir J.E.H. Neville ed.), The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry Chronicle, Vol IV June 1944- December 1945 (Gale & Polden, 1954).
  • John Sanders, British Guards Armoured Division 1941-45. Vanguard series (Osprey, 1979)
  • Norman Scarfe, Assault Division (Collins, 1947) [British 3rd Division]
  • Major Ned Thornburn, The 4th K.S.L.I in Normandy (4th Bn. K.S.L.I Museum Trust, 1990) [4th Battalion, King’s Shropshire Light Infantry]
  • Peter Whately-Smith, The 94th (Dorset & Hants) Field Regiment Royal Artillery 1939-1945 (G. H. Rose, n.d)
  • Lt. Col. E. F. Wilson (ed.), Spear Head. News sheets D+5 to VE-Day (printed by printing and stationary services I Corps district, n.d) [British 1st Corps]

5. Commandos (British and allied)

For US Rangers, also see US forces section.

  • Rupert Butler, Hand of Steel (Hamlyn, 1980) [story of the Commandos]
  • Maurice Chauvet, Notes pour Servir à l’histoire ler. Batailon Fusilier Marin Commando D-Day 6 1944 (Printed Jarach-La Ruche, Paris, 1974)
  • Ian Dear, Ten Commando 1942-1945 (Leo Cooper, 1987)
  • Simon Dunstan, Commandos. Churchill’s ‘Hand of Steel’ (Ian Allan Spear Head, 2003)
  • Brig. John Durnford-Slater, Commando (William Kimber, 1953)
  • John Forfar, From Omaha to the Scheldt (Tuckwell press, 2001) [47 Royal Marine Commando]
  • J.O. Forfar, The Battle for Port-en-Bessin. 6-8 June 1944 (Reprint from proceedings of Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh 1994 vol. 24 pp. 218-246) [a medical officer with Royal Marine Commandos]
  • Gérard Fournier and André Heintz, From “Postmasker” to “Aquatint” (Orep, 2006) [raids by British Commandos 1941-1943 on the French coast]
  • Capt. Rev. D.A. Fourguarson-Roberts, Royal Marines and D-Day (Royal Marines Historical Society Special Publication No.15, n.d)
  • Donald Gilchrist, Don’t Cry For Me (Robert Hale, 1982) [Commandos on D-Day and after]
  • James Ladd, Commandos and Rangers of World War II (Macdonald and Jane’s, 1978)
  • Murdoch C. McDougall, Swiftly They Struck (Odhams, 1954) [No.4 Commando]
  • Kenneth Macksey, Commando Strike (Seckel & Walburg, 1985) [story of Amphibious Raiding in World War II]
  • Charles Messenger, The Commandos 1940-1946 (William Kimber, 1985)
  • Russell Miller, World War II: The Commandos (Time-Life books, 1981)
  • Brig. Derek Mills-Roberts, Clash by Night (William Kimber, 1956) [a Commando’s story]
  • Robin Neillands, The Raiders (Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1989) [Army Commandos 1940-46]
  • David Nutting (ed.), Attain by Surprise. The Story of 30 Assault Unit Royal Navy / Royal Marine Commando and of Intelligence by Capture (David Colver, 1997)
  • Stéphane Simonnet, Les 177 français du Jour J (Éditions Taladier et ministère de la Défense, 2014) [French Commandos who landed on D-Day in French]
  • Leroy Thompson, British Commandos in Action (Squadron/Signal Publications, n.d)
  • David Young, Four Five (Leo Cooper, 1972) [story of 45 Commando Royal Marines 1943-1971]
  • Brig. Peter Young, Storm from the sea (Corgi, 1958) [Commando officer’s story]

6. British airborne troops

  • Anon, D-Day Paratroopers, The British, The Canadians, and The French (Histoire & Collections, 2012)
  • Stephen Ambrose, Pegasus Bridge. 6 June 1944 (George Allen and Unwin, 1984)
  • Peter Archer, Go To It (School of Signals, 1982)
  • Neil Barber, The Day The Devils Dropped In. The 9th Parachute Battalion in Normandy- D-Day to D+6, the Merville Battery to the Chateau St. Come (Pen & Sword Books, 2010)
  • Neil Barber, The Pegasus And Orne Bridges. Their Capture, Defence, And Relief on D-Day (Pen & Sword Military, 2013)
  • Georges Bernage, Red Devils in Normandy. 5-6 June 1944 (Heimdal, 2002) [6th Airborne Division]
  • George Chatterton, The Wings of Pegasus (Macdonald, 1962) [story of the Glider Pilot Regiment]
  • Napier Crookenden, Drop-zone Normandy. (Purnell Book Services, 1976) [story of the American and British airborne assault on D-Day]
  • John Golley, The Big Drop. The Guns of Merville, June 1944 (Jane’s, 1982)
  • Peter Harclerode, Go To It! The Illustrated History of the 6th Airborne Division (Caxton Editions, 1990)
  • Alan Jefferson, Assault on the Guns of Merville (John Murray, 1987)
  • Barbara Maddox, adapted from diary of Col. R.G. Pine-Coffin, The Tale of Two Bridges (Barbara Maddox and Peter Pine-Coffin, 2003)
  • Ministry of Information, By Air to Battle. The Official Account of the British 1st and 6th Airborne Divisions. (HMSO, 1945)
  • G.G. Norton, The Red Devils. The Story of the British Airborne Forces (Leo Cooper, 1971)
  • Carl Shilleto, Normandy: Pegasus Bridge & Merville Battery. British 6th Airborne Division Landings in Normandy D-Day 6th June 1944. Battleground Europe series. (Leo Cooper, 1999)
  • Carl Shilleto, Merville Battery & The Dives bridges. Battleground Normandy series. (Pen & Sword, 2011)
  • Frank Spittle, Robert de Latour, The First of May (no publisher, 2004) [story of a Canadian airborne soldier who was one of the first to land on D-Day]
  • Sir Huw Wheldon, Red Berets into Normandy (Jerrold Coleus Publications, 1982)
  • Alan Wood, The Glider Soldiers (Spellmount 1992) [history of British military glider forces]

7. US forces, including airborne troops

Also see sections on individual units and memoirs, and US beaches section.

  • Anon, Jour J à Utah-Beach (1974) [memories of Veterans, in French]
  • Henry Buckton, Friendly invasion. Memories of Operation Bolero. The American occupation of Britain 1942-1945 (Phillimore, 2006)
  • Michael D. Doubler, Closing With The Enemy, How Gls Fought The War In Europe 1944-1945 (University Press Of Kansas, 1994)
  • Jonathan Gawne, Spearheading D-Day, American Special Units of the Normandy Invasion (Histoire & Collections, 2001)
  • Edwin R.W. Hale and John Frayn Turner, The Yanks are coming (Midas, 1983)
  • Gordon A. Harrison, United States Army in World War II, The European Theatre of Operations, cross-channel attack (Office of the Chief of Military History United States Army, 1951) [US official history: development of strategy and planning, 1941 – 1 July 1944]
  • Philippe Jutras, Sainte Mere Eglise and the aerial invasion of this town on D-Day, 6 June 1944 (Heimdal, 1984) [A U.S army veteran of Utah Beach, now residing at Saint-Mere-Eglise in French and English]
  • Philippe Jutras, Normandy 44, Les Paras U.S Dans le Canton de Saint-Mere-Eglise (Heimdal, 1979) [in French and English]
  • Alex Kershaw, The Bedford Boys. One Small Town’s D-Day Sacrifice (Simon & Schuster, 2003)
  • Charles J. Masters, Glidermen of Neptune (Southern Illinois University Press, 1995) [US glider forces on D-Day]
  • Robin Pearce, Seven Months To D-Day: An American Regiment in Dorset. 16th Infantry Regiment (The Dorecot Press, 2000)
  • Joseph K. Perkins et al, Mission Accomplished (Salzburg, 1945) [321st Glider Field Artillery Battalion in World War II]
  • David Reynolds, Rich relations. The American occupation of Britain 1942-1945 (Phoenix, 1995)
  • Stephen Smith, Spearhead, 2nd Armoured Division ‘Hell on Wheels’ (Ian Allan, 2003)
  • Mike Terrier, 82nd Airborne Division ‘All American’. Spearhead series. (Ian Allan, 2001)
  • Ian Westwell, 1st Infantry Division ‘Big Red One’. Spearhead series. (Ian Allan, 2002)
  • Ian Westwell, U.S rangers ‘leading the way’ 1942-2001. Spearhead series. (Ian Allan, 2003)
  • Deryk Wills, Put on Your Boots and parachutes! (Deryk Wills, 1992) [U.S 82nd Airborne Division]

8. Commonwealth and other allied units

  • Terry Copp, Fields of Fire. The Canadians in Normandy. Second Edition. (University of Toronto Press, 2014)
  • Col. G.W.L. Nicholson, More Fighting Newfoundlanders (Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, 1969) [history of Newfoundland’s fighting forces in the Second World War]
  • Alison Parr (ed.), The Big Show (Auckland University Press, 2006) [New Zealanders on D-Day and the war in Europe]
  • John Owen Smith, All Tanked Up. The Canadians in Headley During World War II. Memories of villagers and veterans. (John Owen Smith, 1994)
  • Col. C.P. Stacey, The Canadian Army 1939-1945 (Department of National Defence, 1948)
  • Steven J. Zaloga, The Polish Army 1939-45. Men-at-Arms Series. (Osprey, 1982)

9. Naval aspects of D-Day, including Operation Neptune (the naval assault phase of the Normandy Landings)

  • Lt. Cdt. Trevor Blore, Commissioned Barges, The Story of the Landing Craft (Hutchinson, n.d)
  • Yves Buffetaut, D-Day Ships – The Allied Invasion Fleet, June 1944, (Conway Maritime Press, 1994)
  • Peter Bull, To Sea in a Sieve (Peter Davies, 1956) [tank landing craft in Dieppe, Italy, South of France]
  • Lambton Burn, “Down Ramps!” Saga of the Eighth Armada (Carroll & Nicholson, 1947)
  • W. Brian Carter, Saved by the Bomb (The Book Guild, 2001) [landing craft at D-Day and the Far East]
  • Sub Lieut. W. B. Carter, D-Day Landings (Silent Books, 1993) [British landing craft crewman landing American forces at Normandy]
  • J.J. Colledge, Ships of the Royal Navy (Greenhill 1987) [Fifteenth century to the present]
  • Paul J. Cogger, Finished With Engine (Vantage, 1972) [U.S merchant marine in North Atlantic, Mutmansk, Normandy, Vietnam]
  • Dr. Martin Downs (ed.), Destroyer Escorts of World War Two (Pictorial Histories Publishing Company, 1987)
  • Kenneth Edwards, Operation Neptune (Collins, 1946)
  • Peter Elliot, Allied Minesweeping in World War 2 (Patrick Stephens, 1979)
  • Peter Eliott, Allied Escort Ships of World War II (Macdonald and Jane’s, 1977)
  • Michael Emery, From Dry Dock to D-Day. The return Voyage of the SS Jeremiah O’Brien in photographs (Lens Boy Press, n.d.)
  • George Evans, The Landfall Story (George Evans, 1972) [story of LCT 7074]
  • Bernard Ferguson, The Watery Maze (Collins 1961) [story of combined operations including Suez 1956]
  • Lt. Col. J. A. C. Hugill, The Hazard Mesh (Hurst and Blackett, c 1946) [Landing Craft, Tanks in Normandy]
  • Mark James, D-Day Wrecks of Normandy (Mark James, 1997)
  • W. D. ‘Jim’ Jarman, Those Wallowing Beauties (The Book Guild ,1997) [story of landing barges in WW2]
  • J. Lennox Kerr and David James (eds.), Wavy Navy by some who served (George G. Harrays, 1950)
  • J.D. Ladd, Assault from the Sea 1939-1945 (David & Charles, 1976) [landing craft]
  • John Lambert and Al Ross, Allied Coastal Forces of World War II. Volume II: Vosper MTBs and U.S Elcos (Conway Maritime Press, 1993)
  • Brian Lavery, Assault landing craft. Design, construction and operations. (Seaforth, 2009)
  • Brian Lavery, Hostilities only. Training the wartime Royal Navy. (Conway, 2004)
  • Tristan Lovering (ed.), Amphibious Assault: Manoeuvre From The Sea. From Gallipoli to the Gulf (Seafares Books, 2007)
  • Paul Lund & Harry Ludlam, Trawlers Go To War (Paul Lund and Harry Ludlam, 1971) [story of “Harry Tate’s Navy”]
  • Paul Lund and Harry Ludlam, The War of the Landing Craft (W. Foulsham, 1976)
  • Pamela Mitchell, The Tip of the Spear. The Midget Submarines (Richard Netherwood, 1993)
  • Capt. S.W. Roskill, The War at Sea 1939-1945. Vol.1 The Defensive (HMSO, 1954) [British naval official history]
  • Capt. S.W. Roskill, The War at Sea 1939-1945, Vol. 2 The Period of Balance (HMSO, 1956) [British naval official history]
  • Capt. S.W. Roskill, The War at Sea Vol. 3. Part 1 The Offensive 1st June 1943- 31st May 1944 (HMSO, 1960) [British naval official history]
  • Capt. S.W. Roskill, The War at Sea Vol. 3. Part 1 The Offensive 1st June 1944-14th August 1945 (HMSO, 1961) [British naval official history, this volume covering D-Day itself]
  • Lt. Cdt. Peter Scott, The Battle of the Narrow Seas (Country Life, 1945) [history of the light costal forces in the channel and North Sea 1939-1945]
  • John Slader, The Fourth Service. Merchantmen at war 1939-45. (New Guild, 1995)
  • Gerald Toghill, Royal Navy Trawlers, Part One: Admiralty Trawlers (Maritime Books, n.d,)
  • M. J. Whitley, Cruisers of World War Two (Brockhampton, 1999)
  • Jack Williams, They Led The Way (J. F. Williams (Oropesa), 1994) [fleet minesweepers at Normandy June 1944]
  • John de S. Winser, The D-Day Ships (World Ship Society, 1994) [lists all ships that participated in Operation Neptune]

10. Air war and Normandy campaign

  • Anon, British German and Italian Aircraft, How To Spot Them: Drawings and photos with descriptions. (Hutchinson & Co., pre-1942)
  • Stephen E. Ambrose, Wild Blue. 741 Squadron. On a wing and a prayer over occupied Europe (Simon & Schuster, 2002)
  • Ralph Barker, Strike Hard, Strike Sure (Chatto and Windus 1963) [epics of the bombers]
  • Jean-Pierre Benamou, La Bataille Aerienne de Normandie 1944 (Editions Diffusions du Lys, 1994) [in French, useful illustrations]
  • Richard Townsend Bickers, Air War Normandy (Leo Cooper, 1994)
  • Martin Bowman, Fields of Little America. An illustrated history of 8th Air Force 2nd Air Division 1942-45 (Wensum Books, 1977)
  • Martin W. Bowman, Wild Blue Yonder. Glory days of the US Eighth Air Force in England (Cassell, 2003)
  • Robin J. Brooks, Hampshire Airfields in the Second World War (Countryside, 1996)
  • Bernard Crochet, Les Avions du 6 Juin. La Bataille du Ciel (Editions Heimdal, 1993) [in French, useful illustrations]
  • Stephen Darlow, D-Day Bombers: The Veteran’s Story (Grub Street, 2004) [RAF Bomber Command and US 8th Air Force support to the Normandy invasion]
  • Sir John Hammerton (ed.), ABC of the RAF (Amalgamated Press 1942) [Handbook for all branches of the air force]
  • H.J.T. Leal, Battle in the Skies over the Isle of Wight (Isle of Wight County Press, 1988)
  • Gust E. Lundberg Jr & Capt. Karl S. Peterson (eds.), Keller’s Killers, Whit’s Warriors (No publisher, 1945) [557th Bombardment group, AAF photographs and officer’s and men’s indices]
  • John Stanley, The Exbury Junkers. A World War II Mystery (Woodfield, 2004)

11. Spies, special operations and Normandy campaign

  • Virginia Cowles, The Phantom Major (Collins, 1958) [David Stirling and the SAS regiment]
  • M.R.D. Foot, History of the Second World War. SOE in France. (HMSO, 1966) [official history]
  • Paul Gaujac, Special Forces in the Invasion of France (Histoire & Collections, 1999)
  • Sinclair McKay, The British Spy Manual. The authentic SOE guide for WWII (Aurum Press, 2014)
  • Philip John Stead, Second Bureau (Evans Brothers, 1959) [undercover work by French intelligence in WW 2]
  • Bill Strutton and Michael Pearson, The Secret Invaders (Hodder and Stoughton, 1958) [Combined Operations Pilotage Parties, surveying beaches for subsequent landings]
  • Michael Tillotson (ed.), SOE and The Resistance (Continuum International Publishing Group, 2011)

12. Mulberry harbours, PLUTO and other engineering subjects

  • J. Evans, E. Palmer and R. Walter (comps/eds.), “A Harbour Goes to War. The story of Mulberry and the men who made it happen” (Brooks House Publishing for the South Machars Historical Society, 2000)
  • Guy Hartcup, “Code Name Mulberry. The Planning, Building, and Operation of the Normandy Harbours” (David & Charles, 1977)
  • Cdt. Walter Karig et al, Rhinos and Mulberries, article in US Naval institute Proceedings, vol.71 no.514 (December 1945)
  • Adrian Searle, Pluto. Pipe-line Under The Ocean (Shanklin Chine, 1995)
  • Harry Smith & Bob Knight of Erith & Belvedere Local History Society, & Barry Barnett of BICC Cables Ltd., Pluto. World War II’s Best-kept Secret (Bexley Council, n.d,)
  • The Civil Engineer in War, Volume 1, Airfields, Roads, Railways and Bridges (Institution of Civil Engineers 1948). World war II.
  • The Civil Engineer in War, Volume 2, Docks and Harbours. World War II (Institution of Civil Engineers 1948).
  • The Civil Engineer in War, Volume 3, Properties of Materials, Structures, Hydraulics, Tunnelling and Surveying. World War II (Institution of Civil Engineers 1948).

13. British and Canadian beaches on D-Day (and subsequent operations)

Sometimes including subsequent operations as well. Also see Battle of Normandy section, and sections on specific units. See British airborne section for British airborne operations on D-Day.

  • Georges Bernage, Gold Juno Sword (Heimdal, 2003) [French and English]
  • Lloyd Clark, Orne Bridgehead. Battlezone Normandy series. (Sutton, 2004)
  • Christopher Dunphie and Garry Johnson, Normandy: Gold Beach – Inland from King, June 1944. Battleground Europe series. (Pen & Sword, 1999)
  • Ken Ford, Juno Beach. Battlezone Normandy series. (Sutton, 2004)
  • Ken Ford, Sword Beach. Battlezone Normandy series. (Sutton, 2004)
  • Tim Kilvert-Jones, Normandy: Sword Beach. 3rd British Infantry Division’s battle for the Normandy Beachhead 6th June – 10th June 1944. Battleground Europe series. (Leo Cooper, 2001)
  • John Gilbert, Bloody Buron! (Gargunnock Books 2004) [Canada’s D-Day +1]
  • Ken Ford, D-Day 1944 (3), Sword Beach & The British Airborne Landings (Osprey, 2002)
  • Pierre Landry, Jack MacFadden & Angus Scully, Juno Beach. Canada in World War II (Penguin 2003) [book, CD-Rom]
  • Tim Saunders, Normandy: Gold Beach. Jig Sector and West. Battleground Europe series. (Leo Cooper, 2002)
  • Simon Trew, Gold Beach. Battlezone Normandy series. (Sutton, 2004)

14. US beaches on D-Day (and subsequent operations)

Sometimes including subsequent operations as well. Also see Battle of Normandy section, and sections on specific units.

  • Stephen Badsey, Utah Beach. Battlezone Normandy series. (Sutton, 2004)
  • Joseph Balkoski, Utah Beach. The Amphibious Landing and Airborne Operations on D-Day June 6, 1944 (Stackpole Books, 2006)
  • Joseph Balkoski, Omaha Beach. D-Day June 6, 1944 (Stackpole Books, 2006)
  • Tim Bean, Omaha Beach. Battlezone Normandy series. (Sutton, 2004)
  • Georges Bernage, Omaha Beach 6 June 1944 (Heimdal Books, 2003)
  • Tim Kilvert-Jones, Normandy: Omaha Beach. V Corps Battle for the Beachhead. Battleground Europe series. (Leo Cooper, 1999)
  • John C. McManus, The dead and those about to die. D-Day: the Big Red One at Omaha Beach (NAL Caliber/the Penguin Group, 2014)
  • Martin K.A. Morgan, The Americans On D-Day. A photographic history of the Normandy invasion (Zenith Press, 2014)
  • Carl Shilleto, Normandy: Utah Beach. St. Mère Eglise. Battleground Europe series. (Leo Cooper, 2001)

15. The Battle of Normandy

Books about the Battle of Normandy rather than D-Day. Also see D-Day section (which includes some books also covering the Battle of Normandy too) and sections on individual units, memoirs and German forces.

  • John S. Allsup, Hedgerow Hell, L’Enfer du Bocage. Omaha of June to Hill 108 18 June 1944 (Heimdal, 1985) [in French and English]
  • Stephen E. Ambrose, Citizen Soldiers. From the beaches of Normandy to the surrender of Germany (Simon & Schuster, 2002)
  • Stephen Badsey, Campaign Series 1. Normandy 1944. Allied landings and Breakout (Osprey Military, 1990)
  • Philippe Bauduin (transl. Greenhaugh & Greenhaugh), Wars and Discoveries (Editions OREP, 2000) [account of 50 discoveries that affected the battle of Normandy]
  • Eversley Bellfield & H. Essame, The Battle for Normandy (Batsford, 1965)
  • John Buckley (ed.), The Normandy Campaign 1944. Sixty years on (Routledge, 2006) [latest research, much of it revising established views]
  • John Buckley, British Armour In The Normandy Campaign 1944 (Frank Cass, 2006)
  • John Buckley, Monty’s Men. The British Army and the Liberation of Europe (Yale University Press Publications, 2013)
  • Lloyd Clark, Operation Epsom. Battlezone Normandy series. (Sutton, 2004)
  • John Buckley, Monty’s Men. The British Army and the Liberation of Europe, (Yale University Press Publications, 2013)
  • John D’Arcy-Dawson, European Victory (Macdonald, n.d.) [war correspondent’s account, from Normandy to Germany]
  • Ian Daglish, Over the Battlefield. Operation Bluecoat. Breakout from Normandy, (Pen & Sword Military, 2009)
  • Ian Daglish, Over The Battlefield. Operation Epsom. (Pen & Sword, 2007)
  • Patrick Delaforce, Smashing the Atlantic Wall. The destruction of Hitler’s Coastal Fortresses (Cassell, 2001)
  • Patrick Delaforce, Marching to the Sound of Gunfire. North West Europe 1944-5 (Sutton Publishing, 1996)
  • Nigel de Lee, Battle for St-Lo. Battlezone Normandy series. (Sutton, 2005) or:#333333′>John Buckley, Monty’s Men. The British Army and the Liberation of Europe, (Yale University Press Publications, 2013)
  • Rémy Desquesnes, Normandy 1944, The Invasion, The Battle and Everyday Life (Editions Quest- France, 1993)
  • Carlo D’Este, Decision in Normandy: The unwritten Story of Montgomery and the Allied Campaign (William Collins Sons, 1983)
  • Jean-Pierre Gueno and Jerome Pecnard, Paroles du Jour J. Lettres et carnets du Debarquement, ete 1944 (Les Arenes, 2004) [stories from Battles of Normandy, in French]
  • Eric Gunton and William Jordan, Normandy 1945. After The Battle. (Pitkin, 2005)
  • Stephen Ashley Hart, Colossal Cracks. Montgomery’s 21st Army Group in North-West Europe 1944-45. (Stackpole, 2007)
  • Max Hastings, Overlord. D-Day and the Battle for Normandy 1944 (Book Club Associates, 1984)
  • Robin Havers, Battle for Cherbourg. Battlezone Normandy series. (Sutton, 2004)
  • Major J.J. How, Normandy. The British Breakout (William Kimber, 1981)
  • W.G.F. Jackson, Overlord: Normandy 1944 (David Poynter, 1978)
  • John Keegan, Six Armies in Normandy (Jonathan Cape, 1982)
  • Anthony Kemp, Lorraine Journal Pictorial. Lorraine album mémorial 31 Août 1944-15 Mars 1945 (Heimdal/Serpenoise, 1985)
  • Ben Kite, Stout Hearts. The British and Canadians in Normandy 1944, (Helion & Company, 2014)
  • Stephane Lamache, Les 100 objects de la Bataille de Normandie (Orep Editions, 2014) [100 objects representing Battle of Normandy, in French]
  • François de Lannoy, 21st Army Group, The Units which Made Up The Group In Normandy (Heimdal, 2003) [French and English]
  • Paul Latawksi, Falaise Pocket. Battlezone Normandy series. (Sutton, 2004) Normandy, in French]
  • Eric Lefevre, Panzers in Normandy: Then and Now (After the Battle, n.d.)
  • Sean Longden, To the Victor the Spoils. D-Day to VE-Day. The Reality Behind the Heroism (Arris, 2004)
  • James Lucas and James Barker, The Killing Ground (Batsford, 1978) [Battle of the Falaise Gap, August 1944]
  • Henry Maule, Caen. The Brutal Battle and Break-out from Normandy (David Charles, 1976)
  • Alexander McKee, Caen. Anvil of Victory, (Souvenir Press, 1964)
  • Robin Neillands, The Battle of Normandy 1944 (Cassell, 2002)
  • John North, North-West Europe 1944-5 (HMSO, 1977)
  • Christopher Pugsley, Operation Cobra. Battlezone Normandy series. (Sutton, 2005)
  • Winston G. Ramsey (ed.), After the Battle magazine, No. 8 1975, includes The Battle of the Falaise Pocket 1944 (Battle of Britain Prints International, 1975)
  • Simon Trew, Battle for Caen. Battlezone Normandy series. (Sutton, 2004)
  • George Patton Waters, Battlefield Relics. Normandy 1944 (Histoire & Collections, 2014)
  • Andrew Wilson, Flame Thrower (William Kimber, 1956) [Churchill tanks in Normandy]

16. Commanders’ memoirs, biographies and autobiographies

  • Maj. Gen. David Belchem, Victory in Normandy (Chatto & Windus for Book Club Associates, 1981) [head of Montgomery’s operations and planning staff 1943-45]
  • Omar N. Bradley, A Soldier’s Story of the Allied Campaigns from Tunis to Elbe (Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1951)
  • Stephen Brooks (ed.), Montgomery and the Battle of Normandy (The History Press for the Army Records Society, 2008) [diaries and correspondence January to August 1944]
  • Rear-Admiral W.S. Chalmers, Full Cycle. The Biography of Admiral Sir Bertram Home Ramsay (Hodder & Stoughton, 1959) [Allied naval commander for D-Day]
  • Patrick Dalzel-Job, Arctic Snow to Dust of Normandy: The Extraordinary Wartime Exploits of a Naval Special Agent (Alan Sutton, 1991)
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower, Crusade In Europe (William Heinemann, 1948)
  • David Fraser, Alanbrooke (David Fraser, 1982) [biography of the British Chief of the Imperial General Staff at the time of D-Day]
  • Maj. Gen. Sir Francis de Guingand, Operation Victory (Hodder & Stoughton, 1947) [autobiography of the Chief of Staff of 21st Army Group 1944-1945]
  • Nigel Hamilton, Monty, Volume 3, the Field-Marshal 1944-1976 (Sceptre 1987)
  • John H. Holden, Lord Montgomery in Hampshire and Normandy (Hampshire County Council, 1994)
  • Alistair Horne with David Montgomery, Monty 1944-45. The Lonely Leader (Macmillan, 1994)
  • Hastings Ismay, The Memoirs of General The Lord Ismay (Heinemann, 1960) [autobiography of Churchill’s chief military assistant]
  • Roger James, Montgomery at Alamein (Tricorn, 2009)
  • John Kennedy, The Business of War (Hutchinson, 1957) [war narrative of Major General Sir John Kennedy]
  • Ronald Lewin, Rommel as Military Commander (B.T. Batsford, 1968)
  • Field-Marshal The Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, The Memoirs (The Companion Book Club, 1958)
  • Field Marshal The Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, El Alamein to the River Sangro. Normandy to the Baltic (Hutchinson, 1973)
  • Field-Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery, Normandy to the Baltic (Hutchinson, 1946)
  • Gen. Sir Frederick Morgan, Overture to Overlord (Hodder & Stoughton, 1950) [author was COSSAC – i.e. in charge of planning D-Day before Allied commanders were appointed]
  • Forrest C. Pogue, Organiser of Victory 1943-1945 (Viking Press, 1973) [biography of General George Marshall, US Chief of Staff of the Army]
  • Maj. Gen. Richard Rohmer, Patton’s Gap (Arms and Armour Press, 1981) [General Patton’s role at the end of the Battle of Normandy]
  • Freidrich Ruge, Rommel in Normandy (Macdonald and Jane’s, 1979) [reminiscences of Friedrich Ruge, Rommel’s naval advisor]
  • Desmond Young, Rommel (Book club associates, 1972) [biography of the German commander]

17. Veterans’ memoirs, oral history and personal experiences

The D-Day Museum’s archives also include many unpublished memoirs which are not shown below. Those listed here are generally only widely published works.

  • John C. Ausland, Letters Home: A War Memoir (Land Productions, 1993) [Includes D-Day]
  • Roderick Bailey, Forgotten voices of D-Day – A new history of the Normandy Landings (Ebury Press, 2009)
  • Jonathan Bastable, Voices From D-Day, Eye-witness Accounts of 6th June 1944 (David & Charles, 2004)
  • Molly Burkelt and Dick Bowen, Once Upon a Wartime XIV, D-Day (Barmy Books, 2004)
  • Martin Bowman, Remembering D-Day. Personal Histories of Everyday Heroes. (HarperCollins, 2004)
  • Bill Cheall, Fighting through from Dunkirk to Hamburg (Pen & Sword, 2011)
  • Bill Close, Tank Commander. From the fall of France to the defeat of Germany (Pen & Sword Military, 2013)
  • Joe Cole, Road to the Front (Lanbaurgh-on-tees Borough Council, 1994) [experiences of a camouflage designer and constructer and his drawings, including D-Day]
  • Michael Cumming, Radar reflections (Radar associates, 2000) [the secret life of air force radar mechanics in WW2]
  • Lt. Cdt. Oliver Dawkins, Night Passage to Normandy (Decca Navigator Company n.d.) [personal record of the opening place by a navigating officer]
  • Simon Evans, Gunner Kaye (Geoff Blore, 2007) [artilleryman’s experiences from the Normandy beaches to VE-Day]
  • Sheila Geddes, A Strange Alchemy (Pen Press Publishers, 2001) [support groups in WW2]
  • Sergeant Trevor Greenwood, D-Day To Victory. The Diaries of a British Tank Commander (Simon & Schuster, 2012)
  • John Hall, A Soldier of the Second World War (no publisher, 1986) [D-Day to VE Day in Germany]
  • Ian C. Hammerton, Achtung! Minen! The Making of a Flail Tank Troop Commander (The Book Guild, 1991) [Normandy to Germany]
  • Patrick Hennessey, Young Man in a Tank [D-Day before and after]
  • John Howard & Penny Bates, The Pegasus Diaries. The private papers of Major John Howard DSO. (Pen & Sword Military, 2007)
  • Garry Johnson & Christopher Dunphie, Brightly Shone the Dawn. Some Experiences of the Invasion of Normandy. (Frederick Warne, 1980)
  • Major Robert Kiln, D-Day to Arnhem with Hertforshire’s Gunners (Castlemead Publications, 1993)
  • James Kyle, Typhoon Tale (Biggar & Co., 1989)
  • James Leasor, The Unknown Warrior (Heinemann 1980)
  • Peter Liddle, D-Day By Those Who Were There (Pen & Sword, 2004)
  • Ramsay H. Milne, Sailor Boy to Typhoon Pilot (Sterling Graphics, Victoria, B.C. 1988) [includes 440 Squadron RCAF Feb-Aug 1944 and capture]
  • Russell Miller, Nothing Less Than Victory. The oral history of D-Day. (Michael Joseph, 1993)
  • Piper Bill Millin, Invasion (The Book Guild, 1991)
  • Gordon Moore, Prelude to Battle (Midas Books, 1983) [infantry memoir]
  • G.A. Morris, The Battle of El Alamein and Beyond (The Book Guild, 1993)
  • Robin Neillands and Roderick de Normann, D-Day 1944, Voices from Normandy, that one day told by those who were there (Cassell Military Paperbacks, 1993)
  • Bill Newman, “Sparks” RN. A Charmed Life. 1935-1953 (Bill Newman, 1993)
  • Geoffrey Picot, Accidental Warrior. In the front line from Normandy till Victory (The Book Guild, 1993) [1st Hampshires]
  • Stan Procter. A Quiet Little Boy Goes to War. 43rd Wessex 1943-1945 (Stan Procter, n.d.)
  • Norma Rogers, Until the Final Gun (1st Books Library, 2002) [Alfred Wesley Rogers with the 411th AAA gun battalion (U.S) including D-Day +3]
  • Stella Rutter, Tomorrow is D-Day. The remarkable war story of Supermarine’s first draughtswoman. (Amberley, 2014)
  • Robin Savage, D-Day. The Last of the Liberators (Helion & Company Limited, 2014)
  • Hein Severloh, WN62. A German Soldier’s Memories of the Defense of Omaha Beach Normandy, June 6, 1944. (H.E.K. Creativ Verlag, 2011)
  • Frank and Joan Shaw (compilers), We Remember D-Day (Echo Press (1983) Ltd, n.d.)
  • Capt. C. Shore, With British Snipers to the Reich (Greenwill Books, 1997)
  • J. G. Smith, In at the Finish (Minerva, 1995) [tank crewman, North-West Europe 1944-1945]
  • Robert Thornburrow, What’s in a War (Prospero Books, 1999)
  • Ron Walsh, In The Company of Heroes (Troubadour, 2004) [in Royal Navy including Atlantic convoys, North Africa, D-Day]
  • Harry Wardon, Forecastle to Quarterdeck, Memoirs 1935-45 (CPW Books, 1994)
  • Kenneth J. West, An’ it’s Called a Tam-o’-Shanter (Merlin Books, 1985) [experiences of a soldier during twelve months of the second front]
  • Ian Wilson, From Belfast Through To D-Day (North Down Borough Council, Bangor, 1994)
  • Robert Woollcombe, Lion Rampant. The Memoirs of an Infantry Officer from D-Day to the Rhineland (Black & White Publishing, 2014)

18. German forces and Atlantic Wall

Also see Battle of Normandy and commanders sections.

  • Jean-Philippe Borg, German Combat Equipment 1939-45 (Histoire & Collections, 2014)
  • Alain Chazette & Alain Destouches, 1944: Le Mur De L’Atlantique en Normandie (Editions Heimda, n.d.)
  • Brian L. Davis, German Army Uniforms and Insignia 1933-1945 (Military Book Society, 1971)
  • Eric Lefèvre, Panzers in Normandy Then and Now (Battle of Britain Prints International, 1983)
  • Paul Gamelin, Le Mur De L’Atlantique Les Blockhaus de L’Illusoire (Daniel et Cie, 1974)
  • Richard Hargreaves, The Germans in Normandy (Pen & Sword Military, 2006)
  • David C. Isby (ed.), Fighting the invasion. The German army at D-Day. WWII German Debriefs (Greenbill Books, 2000)
  • David C. Isby (ed.), Fighting in Normandy. The German Army from D-Day to Villers-Bocage (Greenhill Books, 2001)
  • David C. Isby (ed.), Fighting The Breakout. The German Army in Normandy from ‘Cobra’ to the Falaise Gap (Greenhill Books, 2004)
  • J.E. and H.W. Kaufmann, A. Jankovic-Potocnik & Vladimir Tonic, The Atlantic Wall. History and Guide. (Pen & Sword Military, 2012)
  • Werner Kortenhaus, The Combat History of the 21. Panzer Division (Helion & Company, 2014)
  • Didier Lodieu, The 116. Panzer-Division’s Panther battalion in Normandy, July-August 1944 (Histoire & Collections, 2012)
  • Jean Paul Pallud, Ruckmarsch! The German Retreat from Normandy, Then and Now (Battle of Britain International, 2007)
  • Rudi Rolf and Peter Saal, Fortress Europe (Airlife, 1988)
  • Norbert Szamveber, Waffen-SS Armour in Normandy. The Combat History of SS-Panzer Regiment 12 and SS-Panzerjager Abteilung 12 Normandy 1944. Based on their original war diaries. (Helion & Company, 2012)
  • Philip Vickers, Das Reich, 2nd SS Panzer Division – Drive to Normandy, June 1944. Battleground Europe. (Leo Cooper, 2000)
  • Steven Zaloga, D-Day Fortifications in Normandy (Osprey Publishing, 2011)
  • Steven Zaloga, The Devil’s Garden, Rommel’s desperate defense of Omaha Beach on D-Day (Stackpole Books 2013)
  • Niklas Zetterling, Normandy 1944 – German Military organisation, combat power and organizational effectiveness (J.J. Fedorowicz Publishing Inc., 2000)

19. Occupied and liberated France

  • Richard Collier, Ten Thousand Eyes (Collins, 1958) [the mapping by French civilians of the Atlantic Wall]
  • Genevieve Duboscq, My Longest Night (Leo Cooper + Secker&Wallburg, 1978) [an 11yr old French girl’s memories of D-Day]
  • Françoise Duteur and Gérard Feumrier, Le Calvados sous L’occupation 1940-1944 (Archives départemeuntales du Calvados, 1993)
  • Françoise Duteur, The Liberation of Calvados 6th June 1944 – 31st December 1944 (Calvados County Council, Caen 1994)
  • Bernard Garnier et al (eds.), Les populations civiles face au débarquement et à la bataille de Normandie (CRHQ, CNRS- Université de Caen, 2005)
  • William I. Hitchcock, Liberation. The bitter road to freedom, Europe 1944-1945, (Simon & Schuster, 2009)
  • Jean Lechevrel, Les Dés Sout Sur Le Tapis. Caen et les environs été 1944 (S.E.B.N- Caen, 1984)
  • Henri Marie, Villers Bocage, Dédié aux victims civiles (Heimdal 2003) [French and English]
  • Russell Miller, World War II: The Resistance (Time-Life Books, 1979)
  • Francoise Passera and Jean Quellien, Les civils dans La bataille de Normandie (Orep Editions, 2014)
  • Claude Quétel, Caen 1940 1944. La Guerre. L’Occupation. La Libération (Editions quest-France, Memorial de Caen, 1994)
  • Mary Louise Roberts, D-Day Through French Eyes. Normandy 1944 (The University of Chicago Press, 2014)
  • Louis Le Roch’h Morgère, Du Sang et des larmes (Calvados archives, 1994) [Exhibition of paintings, including of Normandy 1944. Text in French, English, Russian.]
  • Henry Rousso, Les Années Noires. Vivre sous L’occupation (Gallimard, 1992)
  • Ian Wellsted, SAS with the Maquis (Greenhill, 1994) [In action with the French resistance June-September 1944]

20. Women’s services

  • Ray Freeman (compiler), A Wrens’ eye view of wartime Dartmouth (Dartmouth History Group with Dartmouth Museum, 1994)
  • Brenda McBryde, A Nurses War (Cakebreads, 1993) [Normandy to Germany and concentration camps]
  • Brenda McBryde, Quiet Heroines, Nurses of the Second World War (Cakebreads, 1989) [Throughout the war including Japanese internment]
  • Gwendoline Page (ed.), They Listened in Secret. More Memories of the Wrens (Reeve, 1993)
  • Peggy Scott, They Made Invasion Possible (Hutchinson, n.d) [Women’s services]

21. Uniforms, vehicles and weapons

In many cases, covers WW2 in general not specifically D-Day.

  • Jean Bouchery, The British Tommy in North-West Europe, 1944-1945. Volume 1 Uniforms, Insignia and Equipment. (Histoire & Collections, 2001)
  • Jean Bouchery, The Canadian Soldier in North West Europe, From 1944-1945 (Histoire & Collections, 2007)
  • Martin Brayley & Richard Ingram, The World War II Tommy. British Army Uniforms European Theatre 1939-45. (Crowood, 1998)
  • Peter Chamberlain and Chris Ellis, British and American Tanks of World War II (Arms & Armour Press, 1969)
  • John Church, Military Vehicles of World War 2 (Blandford, 1982)
  • Brian L. Davis, British Army Uniforms & Insignia of World War Two (Arms and Armour Press, 1983)
  • Henri-Paul Enjames, Government Issue. U.S. Army European Theatre of Operations Collector’s Guide Volume 1 (Histoire & Collections, 2012)
  • Henri-Paul Enjames, Government Issue.U.S. Army European Theatre of Operations Collector’s Guide Volume 2 (Histoire & Collections, 2012)
  • George Forty, British Army Handbook 1939-1945 (Sutton, 1998)
  • Terry Gander, Allied Infantry Weapons of World War Two (Crowood, 2000)
  • Eric Grove, World War II Tanks (Orbis, 1976)
  • Joe Lyndhurst (consultant), Military Collectables. An international directory of twentieth century militaria. (Salamander 1983)
  • Andrew Mollo, Army Uniforms of World War 2 (Blandford press, 1973)
  • Nigel Montgomery, Churchill Tank 1941-1956 (all models). (Haynes publishing, 2013)
  • Major Frederick Myatt, Modern Small Arms. Encyclopaedia of famous military fire arms 1873 to present. (Salamander 1978)
  • Guido Rosignoli, Army Badges and Insignia of World War 2. G.B, Poland, Belgium, Italy, U.S.S.R, U.S.A, Germany. (Blandford, 1972)
  • Bart H. Vanderveen and Oly Slager Organisation Bt. The Observer’s Army Vehicles Directory to 1940 (Warne, 1974)
  • Pat Ware, Sherman Tank 1941 onwards (all M4 variants), Owners’ Workshop Manual (Haynes Publishing, 2012)
  • B.T. White, Tanks and other AFVs of the Blitzkreig Era 1939 to 1941 (Blandford Press, 1972)
  • B.T. White, Tanks and other Army Fighting Vehicles 1942-45 (Blandford Press, 1975)

22. Journalists and photographers in Normandy

  • D-Day Dispatches, Normandy 1944: Avec les correspondants de guerre (Hors Série Normandy magazine, n.d) [in French]
  • Jonathan Gawne, US Army Photo Album. Shooting the War in Colour 1941-1945 USA to ETO (Histoire & Collections, 1996)
  • Ian Grant, Cameramen at War (Patrick Stephens, 1980) [British armed forces cameramen in WW2 including D-Day]
  • Col. Barney Oldfield USAF, Never a shot in anger (Duell, Sloan and pearce, New York, 1956) [he was a military publications officer who dealt with the press at the time of D-Day]

23. The Overlord Embroidery

The 272ft/83m long Overlord Embroidery is on display at The D-Day Story.

  • Stephen Brooks & Eve Eckstein, Operation Overlord. The History of D-Day and the Overlord Embroidery. (Ashford, 1989)
  • Brian Jewell, Conquest & Overlord. The Story of the Bayeux Tapestry and the Overlord Embroidery (Midas, 1981)

24. Normandy battlefield guides, and Normandy today

Also see the Battle Zone Normandy books (Sutton) and Battleground Europe books (Pen & Sword) which are listed in the sections covering the D-Day beaches, and the Battle of Normandy.

  • J.P. Benamou, Normandy 1944. An Illustrated Field-Guide 7 June to 22 August 1944 (Heimdal, 1982)
  • Anon, Gardens of Remembrance, The Men and Their Destiny (Editions OREP) [Places of recollection and remembrance for those who gave their lives in the Battle of Normandy]
  • Tonie and Valmai Holt, Major & Mrs. Holt’s Battlefield Guide to the Normandy D-Day Landing Beaches (Leo Cooper, 1999)
  • R.H Hunter & T.H.C Brown, Battle Coast (Spurbrooks, 1973)
  • Yves Lecouturier, The Beaches of the D-Day Landings (Editions Ouest- France, 1999)
  • Claude Quétel, A Memorial for Peace (Editions du Regard, 1993)

25. General books on the Second World War

  • Christopher Claut, Richard Humble, William Fowler & Jenny Shaw, Hitler’s Generals and Their Battles, from 1932 (Salamander, 1976)
  • I.C.B. Dear (ed. in chief), Oxford companion to World War II (Oxford University Press, 2001)
  • Richard Holmes, World War II, The Definitive Visual Guide, from Blitzkrieg to Hiroshima (Dorling Kindersley, 2009)
  • Robert Opie, The Wartime Scrapbook From Blitz To Victory 1939-1945 (NC, n.d.)
  • Claude Quetel (transl. John Ritchie), The Second World War, Photos from Germany 1933 to Japan 1946 (Editions Memorial de Caen, 2003)
  • Cesare Salmaggi and Alfredo Pallavisini, 2194 Days of War. Illustrated chronology of Second World War (Windward, 1977)
  • A.J.P. Taylor, The War Lords (Penguin, 1978) [Mussolini, Hitler, Churchill, Stalin, Roosevelt, Japan]
  • Brigadier Peter Young (ed.), The Almanac of World War II (Hamlyn, 1981)

26. Portsmouth in the Second World War

We hold a few additional books on the Home Front in WW2, which are not listed here.

The ‘Great Swan’ through France into Belgium

A Bren gunner of the 5th Coldstream Guards covers a street in Arras, 1 September 1944. Sherman tanks of Guards Armoured Division entering the outskirts of Arras, France, 1 September 1944.

After the weeks stuck in the grinding battles of Normandy both the British and the Americans were rapidly advancing through France. For the British, bypassing the Channel ports still occupied by the Germans, the contrast was so great and the progress so easy that the thrust north west was described as ‘swanning along’ – and the advance was nicknamed the ‘Great Swan’.

They were now passing through territory that many of their fathers in World War 1 would have been terribly familiar with. The older men, which meant most of the senior officers including Montgomery himself, had direct experience of fighting here less than thirty years earlier.

Captain Geoffrey Picot describes the progress of his infantry battalion, behind the armour:

…generally the battalion would travel behind an armoured force, and whereas the armour might have to keep going continuously, we would move by bounds, waiting till the tanks had a lead of ten or twenty miles and then travelling that distance in one spell. We would then harbour up and wait possibly a few hours or a few days till the armour had gone twenty miles ahead again, then bound forward to catch them up. The tactical role of the armour was to get moving and keep moving our tactical duty was to mop up everything they left behind and form a firm base behind them wherever they went.

Our battalion column contained something like 130 vehicles thus if lorries were forty yards apart we would take up three miles of road. We had to watch the spacing, because if vehicles bunched too closely together they would present a tempting target for the German air force. On the other hand, if they were spread out too much we would occupy a lot of road space and that would make progress slow, as we were just a small part of a great column.

On a typical move an armoured division, with 200 tanks, three battalions of lorry-borne infantry and a vast assortment of other vehicles, would lead, followed by an infantry division of which we were but a ninth part. With ambulances, supply vehicles, repair trucks and lorried equipment for supporting weapons added in, the two divisions would contain thousands of vehicles, so if the infantry were to be anywhere near the armour, and supplies anywhere near either of them, each vehicle would have to keep reasonably close to the one in front of it.

We were frequently warned to expect opposition from the German air force, for as we drove eastwards we would be approaching their bases, but not once did they trouble us.

On these long moves from Normandy to Brussels no infantryman footslogged. Speed was essential in pursuing this defeated enemy, so riflemen were bundled into lorries, Bren gun carriers, jeeps, vehicles of all descriptions — but mainly 3—ton TCVs (troop-carrying vehicles) — and driven forward.

When fighting was likely to develop they jumped out of their vehicles and ran into battle formation. The scare over, or the battle over, whichever it proved to be, back in again, and press on.

Sherman tanks of Guards Armoured Division pass a British First World War memorial at Fouilloy during the advance towards Arras, 1 September 1944.

Rifleman ‘Roly’ Jefferson of 8th Battalion Rifle Brigade:

[E]arly in the morning, the French population came to life and offered us any drinks we wanted. It was a party atmosphere. The French called us all ‘Tommy’. We realized we were now in the battlefields of the First War which our fathers had known so well. A common joke was ‘Come away from her, she’s probably your sister.’

At first light we found ourselves sitting astride the approaches to Amiens. [Later on.] The bridges over the River Somme were intact. There was some fighting but nothing like that in Normandy.

At times we could hardly move for the frantic cheering crowds who swarmed onto our vehicles and showered us with fruit, flowers, champagne and wine. We were embraced by women, children and old, bearded men with tears of joy streaming unashamedly down their faces. We pushed on again. It was farcical. The celebrating population were holding us up during the day.

Another night drive took us through famous First War battlefields of Arras, Loos and Lens. We told ourselves we would soon be re-occupying the trenches which our fathers had so bravely defended in their war.

We passed too, numerous huge War Cemeteries. They all looked so neat and tidy, even though under German occupation for four years. We choked back emotion as we contemplated with pride those heroes of a different age. We travelled by day and by night.

We passed signposts marked Ypres. As we neared Armentieres, we joked about whether we would meet the Mademoiselle made so famous in the First War song. There were signs to Dunkirk too. At least we were avenging the humiliating defeat inflicted by the Germans there.

A group of German officers captured at Avesnes by 11th Armoured Division, 1 September 1944. Part of a railway train carrying 120 flying bombs to their launch sites, which was attacked and destroyed by Hawker Typhoons at Schulen, Belgium, on 1 September 1944. This close up of the wrecked trucks shows the remains of the anti-aircraft gun platform, or ‘flak’ truck.

Normandy: the British breakout begins

A Bedford QL 3-ton truck drives into Gace, to the waves and cheers of the local inhabitants, 23 August 1944. A Humber scout car crew are greeted by local people in the town of Gace, 23 August 1944.

Ever since D-Day the British and Canadian forces in Normandy had been slugging it out with the Germans at the eastern end of the bridgehead. Now, with the battle for the Falaise pocket over, they suddenly found no opposition in front of them. They were able to race forward to the east, just as the US forces had done earlier.

It was a dramatic change in circumstances, that took time to adjust to. John Stirling was with the Royal Dragoon Guards:

I think it was the most exciting and sensational time I shall ever have in my life. We drove south first through Condé-sur-Noireau and Vire. Then we swung east towards Argentan and the Seine.

At first we moved gingerly. At every corner and every wood one waited to hear the familiar boom and snarl of a piece of “hard”. But the noise never came. It seemed incredible after all these weeks, that we could motor ten miles down a main road without being fired on.

But the ten miles mounted to twenty and still there was silence and still the speedometers ticked on. We could not understand that the rout of the German Seventh Army was now almost complete, that the Falaise pocket, round whose outskirts we were driving, was the scene of the biggest disaster the victorious Wehrmacht had ever experienced.

This was the real thing. This was the Breakthrough. We saw the remains of a retreating army. Burnt-out vehicles that the RAF had caught, abandoned vehicles that had broken down, derelict vehicles that had run out of petrol, dead horses, broken wagons, scattered kit and equipment.

We saw the brutal sadism of the SS. Everything had been thrown out of the French houses, breakables broken, materials ripped, pistol shots through the cider barrels, an axe for the windows and farmhouse and all the livestock killed and removed — to establish the supremacy of the Herrenvolk over the lesser people — and sheer bestiality.

French chilren climb aboard a Free French M3A3 Stuart tank, 23 August 1944.

Not every unit experienced the rapid movement through north east France that was to become known as’The Great Swan’. There were still some Germans fighting a rear guard action, trying to buy time for the surviving remnants of their army to retreat over the Seine and further east. On the 23rd there was bitter fighting in the town of Lisieux, as Sergeant ‘Snatch’ Boardman relates:

As we drove into Lisieux the road was packed with infantrymen waiting to move forward. The 51st Highlanders were having to fight house to house, street by street and had to capture the Basilica which dominated the area…

As we approached the forward position the constant stream of stretcher-bearing Jeeps with badly injured troops from both sides was indication of the resistance being encountered. As our troop of three vehicles came up to the Queens infantry, their young officer indicated the enemy positions. The platoon was in a single file and keeping close against a wall.

I cannot remember ever feeling more pity for them than I did on that occasion. As the Bren crew went forward they became instant casualties. The Piat crew took up the leading position. The platoon was soon either dead or wounded.

Inside the Basilica 2,000 civilians were sheltering. Sergeant Boardman was to take Bren gun and climb to the top of the Basilica from where he fired on Germans running away, although he apparently failed to locate German snipers hiding elsewhere in the building. Overnight the last Germans would silently withdraw.

Cromwell OP tanks and Humber scout cars of 5th RHA, 7th Armoured Division, climb the hill into Lisieux, 23 August 1944. On the right is a Royal Artillery battery commander’s half-track of 51st Highland Division, and in the centre a wounded Highlander shot by a sniper is carried to safety. A column of Cromwell and Sherman Firefly tanks of 1st RTR, 7th Armoured Division, enters Lisieux, 23 or 24 August 1944. In the background is the Basilica of St Therese.

Watch the video: The Liberation of Western Europe 1944 1945 The Complete History (January 2022).