Even in small-town and rural Lancashire we were aware that something big was in the offing during the early spring of 1944. Every day there were convoys of jeep escorted trucks filled with troops (from temporary bases and assembly points) clogging the roads -- all heading south on feeder roads or to the great North Road (precursor of the present day M1). I remember that the majority of troops were American, although there were also British, Free French, Free Poles and West Indies troops. In typical Hollywood fashion, the Americans threw handfuls of sweets and chewing gum (mostly Chiclets which we were unfamiliar with) to us kids (actually, I was fifteen at this time) when they stopped on the side of the road for breaks. As I recall, nobody had any real idea of what was going on -- including the troops themselves. There was lots of speculation. There had been many rumors floating around that there was some kind of second front planned on the continent -- that there was going to be a massive deployment of troops to bolster the Italian campaign -- that there was going to be an invasion of France by the Allies using an expeditionary force (good guess) -- but nobody knew exactly where or when. Nobody I knew came close to guessing the scope, magnitude and timing of the eventual D-Day operation.