Earlier this year in the build up to the 75th D-Day Anniversary Commemorations we journeyed to Colchester to sit down and chat with 6th Airborne Division historian & author Neil Barber to discuss the important role this British / Canadian airborne unit played on D-Day and during the fierce fighting of the 1944 Normandy campaign.
In Part One, we discover why Neil first started researching the men and actions of the British 6th Airborne Division in Normandy in 1944. Before diving right into discussing the plan, role and actions of Lt Colonel Terence Otway’s 9th Parachute Battalion assault on the Merville Battery on D-Day as well as the proceeding fighting in Amfreville and up at the Chateau St Come.
Listen to Part One
*** Please note – these Episodes were not recorded in a studio, but inside an original C-47 Dakota now used as a gate guard at Colchester. As such we apologise at points for some of background noise with the rain and creaking, this aircraft is over 70 years old!
Parts 2 + 3 will be out shortly. In these we discuss the 7th Parachute Battalion’s role around Benouville and Le Port in holding Pegasus & Horsa Bridges on D-Day; Jeff Haward’s experiences with the 1/7th Middlesex Battalion; the Commandos’ important role and experiences of Stan Scott with No.3 Commando as well as learning about Neil’s current work looking at the blowing of the 5 bridges across the River Dives and Divette.
We hope you have found Part One of interest, thanks for listening. Part Two of talking with Neil Barber about the 7th Parachute Battalion
Special thanks for all their help is due to:
- Neil Barber
- Photographer Robin Savage
- The Airborne Assault Museum Team – John and Sam
- Colchester Barracks
- And YOU for listening!
Photo Credits: Cover Image Photographed by Robin Savage.
Music Feature Credits: Hearts & Flowers by Jeff Kaale