D-Day Recollections.

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by Drew5233, Jan 10, 2009.

  1. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    of an Ops Room Officer, April-September 1944.

    The layout of the Ops Room at Southwick House is well portrayed in the pianting by Barnett Freedman, Official War Artist.
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    I remember him painting the picture and getting in everyone's way. The Wren Plotting Officer in the foreground is Alison Egerton. The Liaison Officers (RAF,US, Army, etc.) sat with their backs to the wall, facing the wallplot, at small individual tables, squeezed together each with a telephone on his desk.
    The large table plot was exactly as in Freedmans picture, infront of the big windows-daylight was taken advantage of but the windows were of course blacked out at dusk. The room became very hot when it was crowded. Officers never removed jackets and the majority smoked. Ventilation was minimal.
    Present were a Wren Plotting Officer , two Wren Plotters, both probably leading hands, a Junior Naval Staff Officer, probably a full Lieutenant, a Duty Commander, three or four Liaison Officers, not present all the time, and a Wren Telephonist (There was a small standing switchboard in the room, awkwardly placed in front of the door).
    Furniture was very ordinary, workaday type office tables and chairs. Telephone wires trailed everywhere, coming out of the floor. Signals were decyphered or decoded elsewhere, brought in and added to the appropriate clipboard. People looked in constantly and the room got very crowded.
    The plots, wall and table, were 'pictured plots' as opposed to 'operation plots'. In other words, the plots at Southwick were a record of information obtained elsewhere. This came through by telephone from other operations rooms along the coasts, which in turn had received the radar reports from the chain of radar stations taking readings from their screens. Years of practise had perfected this system. We used chinagraph pencils of perspex. Our telephone technique and speed of marking was impressive. Ordinarily, the plots would be up-dated at regular, precise intervals, perhaps half-hourly, but during an operation or flap this could be increased to every ten minutes.

    The 'Leaders' at SHAEF, Southwick House prior to D-Day.
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    The leaders in the photograph (clockwise from top left) are: Lieutenant-General Omar Bradley, Commander, 1st US Army; Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay, Naval Commander-in-Chief; Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory, Air Commander-in-Chief; Lieutenant-General Walter Bedell Smith, Chief of Staff; General Sir Bernard Montgomery, Commander, 21st Army Group (all Allied land forces); General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander; Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder, Deputy Supreme Commander.
     
  2. AAmum

    AAmum New Member

    Hello - where did the recollection that you quote come from?
     
  3. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Drew
    Which D Day is being discussed as 8th army had lots of those.....?

    Cheers
     
  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Easy one.....The info comes from After The Battles D-Day. Not sure which Vol. though, probably Vol.1
     

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