Don & Terry Holman


On D-Day I was a lieutenant in the Royal Army Service Corps, commanding a platoon of 33 DUKW’s (amphibious trucks). My diary entry for the 6 June sums it up. ‘Arrived on beach and had busy time, under mortar fire for 5 hours’.

About midnight I went down to the beach alone. I wanted to have a look for the most suitable places for the DUKWs to enter and leave the sea next day. It was fairly quiet by then, a few things coming in but not many. There was still gunfire going on, but it was mostly in the distance. It was actually a beautiful night and as I walked along the beach I thought I was stepping on soft seaweed, but when I looked down I saw it was the bodies of our own men washed up by the tide. I didn’t go any further; it was a bit shattering.

On D-Day plus 2, I was standing on the beach when I heard firing in the distance. I looked in the direction of the sound and saw spurts of sand where bullets were landing. I flung myself down, face down, and the German ME109 plane passed over me. I was lucky.


On D-Day I was 12 years old. The war had invaded my life for too many years. I became aware of the constant noise of planes and found that the only place from which I could see what was going on was the bathroom window. This meant craning my neck and twisting my body, but it was wonderful. Plane after plane towing gliders. I think they were Dakotas and Horsas (I found out later). They gave me a wonderful sense of exhilaration and pride. I knew then that this was a very important day.