Skip to content

MENU

Return to mob menu

Search

Back to news

Bringing the past to life.

๐–๐ข๐ญ๐ก ๐จ๐ฅ๐ ๐›๐ฅ๐š๐œ๐ค ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฐ๐ก๐ข๐ญ๐ž ๐ฉ๐ก๐จ๐ญ๐จ๐ฌ, ๐ข๐ญ'๐ฌ ๐ž๐š๐ฌ๐ฒ ๐ญ๐จ ๐๐ข๐ฌ๐ญ๐š๐ง๐œ๐ž ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ฌ๐ž๐ฅ๐ฏ๐ž๐ฌ ๐Ÿ๐ซ๐จ๐ฆ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฉ๐š๐ฌ๐ญ, ๐›๐ฎ๐ญ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ซ๐ž'๐ฌ ๐ฌ๐จ๐ฆ๐ž๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ง๐  ๐š๐›๐จ๐ฎ๐ญ ๐œ๐จ๐ฅ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐ฉ๐ก๐จ๐ญ๐จ๐ฌ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐’๐ž๐œ๐จ๐ง๐ ๐–๐จ๐ซ๐ฅ๐ ๐–๐š๐ซ ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐ซ๐ž๐ฆ๐ข๐ง๐ ๐ฎ๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ก๐จ๐ฌ๐ž ๐ฐ๐ก๐จ ๐ฌ๐ž๐ซ๐ฏ๐ž๐ ๐ฐ๐ž๐ซ๐ž ๐ฃ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐ง๐จ๐ซ๐ฆ๐š๐ฅ ๐ฉ๐ž๐จ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐ž ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก ๐ซ๐ž๐š๐ฅ ๐ฅ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž๐ฌ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐Ÿ๐š๐ฆ๐ข๐ฅ๐ข๐ž๐ฌ ๐š๐ญ ๐ก๐จ๐ฆ๐ž.
๐ˆ๐ญ'๐ฌ ๐ฌ๐จ ๐ข๐ฆ๐ฉ๐จ๐ซ๐ญ๐š๐ง๐ญ ๐ฐ๐ž ๐ซ๐ž๐ฆ๐ž๐ฆ๐›๐ž๐ซ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ฆ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ž๐ฑ๐ญ๐ซ๐š๐จ๐ซ๐๐ข๐ง๐š๐ซ๐ฒ ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ง๐ ๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ฒ ๐๐ข๐.
The photo shows paratroopers of 6th Airborne Division, including members of the Parachute Ambulance units, enjoying a last cigarette with RAFย aircrew before boarding their transport into Normandy, France, 6 June, 1944.
On DDay, the 6th Airborne Division took part in Operation Tonga during the Normandy landings. The 3rd Parachute Brigade landed on their own drop zone to the north-east of Ranville. The brigade had to capture two bridges crossing the Caen canal and the River Orne and hold them until relieved by forces advancing from the British Sword beach. At the same time, they had to secure the landing zone for the divisions glider-borne forces arriving later that day.
The 224th commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel D.H. Thompson was divided into groups for the landings. The commanding officer and sixty-five men who were to establish the Main Dressing Station (MDS) travelled in the same aircraft as brigade headquarters, while Nos 1, 2 and 3 Sections were attached to the 1st Canadian, 8th and 9th parachute battalions.
Arriving in Normandy from around 01:00, many of the units landed too far to the east in the flooded marshes beside the River Dives. One of those men was the commanding officer who then spent three weeks trying to rejoin the unit from behind German lines before being captured.
The members of the 224th who landed on the correct drop zone proceeded to set up their Main Dressing Station in a farm at Le Mesnil. By noon, around two thirds of the 22nd were still missing, but the MDS had managed to treat fifty-five wounded and conduct ten.
The following day, the Germans counter-attacked and the MDS was surrounded on three sides with the nearest German forces only 300 yards (270 m) away, but they kept on operating. Over the next few days, the front line was very fluid and it was not unknown for the unit's ambulances returning to the MDS from battalion aid posts to drive through German patrols and positions. Being co-located with brigade headquarters, the MDS could not be given the protection of the Red Cross and was subjected to small arms and artillery fire.
It was also twice attacked by Royal Air Force rocket firing Typhoons. On 18 June during a German artillery attack, all the unit's transport, apart from one ambulance jeep and two captured trucks, were destroyed. After the last attack, Brigade headquarters issued orders for the MDS to move further to the rear at Ecarde. Between the 6 and 19 of June, the MDS had treated 800 wounded and carried out 112 surgical operations.
To donate directly to Erskine, please visit Erskine.org.uk/donate or search Erskine Veterans.

To find out more about Erskineโ€™s work please visit our website at www.erskine.org.uk, follow on twitter @Erskine Charity via Facebook www.facebook.com/ErskineVeteransCharity or listen to Erskine Veterans Radio at Erskine.org.uk/radio or Paisley 107.5 FM

Subscribe and follow

Get the latest news and events from Erskine direct to your inbox or social feed.

Newsletter sign-up

Follow us

Keep up to date with Erskine

Follow us on social media

Our partners

Become a partner

This site uses cookies and other tracking technologies to assist with navigation and your ability to provide feedback, analyse your use of our products and services, assist with our promotional and marketing efforts and provide content from third parties. Cookie policy