F.G. Thomas

This is my diary of D-Day as seen from my ship, HMS Jervis:

24 May Arrived Portsmouth from Scapa Flow. Special equipment installed. I was to destroy it if hit.
2 June Anchored in West Solent off Yarmouth with other destroyers.
4 June Prayers, then briefed for D-Day. Gale so invasion postponed for 24 hours.
5 June Landing craft passing us all the morning. Weighed anchor in evening and proceeded via Needles Channel, escorting HMS Bulolo, HQ ship.
     1900 hrs Escorting 50th Division, Group 6. Off St Catherine’s Point. Course south to GOLD beach. Hundreds of aircraft overhead in darkness.
6 June
     0435 Landing ships anchored. HMS Jervis headed for beach.
     0545 Followed BYMS minesweeper with other destroyers for beach.
     0645 4 miles off. First light. Identified target: house at Arromanches with blue shutters by a camouflaged 88mm gun. Opened fire, first ship to do so in the British sector; target destroyed. A slow-firing German gun returned fire but missed us on port bow.
     0715 Landing craft rockets – LCT(R) – fired 600 rockets onto beach. What a sight!
     0712-22 Rapid fire; shifted target to German battery overlooking beach.
     0733½ Tanks ashore; only 2½ minutes late! Arromanches No 2 battery (HMS Grenville’s target) replied causing casualties. Closed target (old French 75mm gun and German 88mm). Knocked it out.
     Noon Soup and sandwiches passed around ship.
     1443 Called for fire on strong point holding up troops. Hit target with 5th salvo. Message from Brigadier: ‘Village captured without loss. Thank you.’
     1523 Bombarded near sunken destroyer, Svenner (torpedoed).