R.A.F. Units in D-Day landings on Omaha Beach

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by DoctorD, Mar 21, 2009.

  1. Klondyke Ron

    Klondyke Ron New Member

    I have just read the post by Robbozinoz dated 2016 so am a bit late in replying. Your relative certainly seems to have landed on Omaha on 6-6-1944 as witness the entry on his record stating Emb 6-6-1944. The Mobile Signals Unit he belonged to would have been attached to GCI15082 which was the Mobile Radar Unit selected to provide ground interception radar coverage for Allied fighters over the American landing beaches. GCI15082 was a constituent part of No. 21 Base Defence Wing which was itself part of No. 85 (Base) Group which were formed at RAF Church Fenton from 1-1-1944 onwards under he command of Group Captain Moseby. Prior to D-Day 21 Sector, as it had then become in May 1944, moved from Church Fenton in two stages via Lutterworth and RAF Zeals to Camp D2 at Sopley Park. From there GCI15082 and it's attached units moved to Poole Harbour and left on the evening of 4th/5th June 1944 only for the whole Armada to return because of poor weather conditions in the Channel. They set off again on the evening of 5th/6th June 1944 reaching the Normandy coast in the early morning. GCI15082 was scheduled to land at around 11.00hrs but as the beach was still under fire having not been taken they withdrew and waited until about 17.00hrs when they were ordered in. Out of 30 vehicles which landed only 8 were capable of being driven off the beach, the rest having been 'drowned' or damaged by enemy fire. Approximately 25% of those who went in to land were casualties with 1 officer, Flight Lieutenant Highfield and 10 known Other Ranks being killed. Among the 10 killed are believed to have been 4 soldiers from No. 16 Air Formation Signals as well as 6 airmen from GCI15082 and it's other attached units. The officer in command of the landing was Wing Commander Anderson who was wounded during the landing and eventually returned to England leaving Squadron Leader Trollope as O.C.
    For a full account of the above I would recommend the website "The RAF at Omaha Beach" which has a wealth of detail on this subject.
    As regards the statement that your relative watched the Liberation Parade after being in Paris for 3 days, that coincides with what my father told me. He was an ACH/GD with 21 Sector and he told me that 21 Sector (in fact it was GCI15082) entered Paris before the Allied troops had liberated it and he watched the Liberation Parade from the vicinity of Longchamps Racecourse where GCI15082 had initially set up. I have seen a report that MSU 5285G were ordered to rendezvous with GCI15082 under the command of Wing Commander Brown (who was later killed at Arnhem) at Le Mans and then to proceed to Paris. The German Commander of Paris did not surrender the city until 25th August 1944 so this dates events very accurately. As events turned out, I believe that reception was not very good at Longchamps and so GCI15082 moved to a new position south of Paris at Morangis and went on air there. Eventually, 21 Sector 's GCI's and COL's were sent back to England at the end of September 1944 when the Americans began operating their own radar system but all of the attached Mobile Signals Units were re-allocated to other units on the Continent. Hope this helps?
    Klondyke Ron
  2. Sky

    Sky Member

    Hello Roger... did you ever complete your book? Was it only about 15o62 or was there anything about 15081 in it. Please advise..
    Lengthy threads elsewhere on this site about my father William Wortley.
    Thanks Aileen ( sky)
  3. Sky

    Sky Member

    Hi Roger. Did you ever complete your book? Like you I find it so frustrating there is so little available about mobile radar units and especially 15081 GCI in which my Dad seved ( see William Wortley elsewhere on this site)
    Cheers Aileen
  4. Alan Rose

    Alan Rose Member

    Hello everyone. Just picked up on this thread and haven't had the opportunity to read all the information, but from what I've seen so far it provides a lot of information about my father's war service. He landed on Sword Beach and was a member of 15053 FDP/GCI. He didn't talk about his experience but I do have his diary. It gives some detail about training - where and when, but has very little after landing. However it has a great final entry which is a list of all intercepts made by his unit that led to destroying / damaging enemy aircraft. I always found it amusing though that he volunteered for aircrew but the RAF in it's wisdom, having found he had been a trade apprentice in civvy street, thought he would be better employed in an RAF trade, so trained him on radar when he had been an apprentice... printer.
    dbf likes this.
  5. idler

    idler GeneralList

    He was obviously just the right bloke of type they were looking for...

    Glad you've found the thread, enjoy the rest of it.
  6. Matty2007

    Matty2007 Junior Member

    Hi, it has been a few years since I last posted a message. I was interested to read your comments about 15081. My grandfather (Leonard William Martin - known as Billy) was in 15081 and I have been trying for many years to get information. Have you been successful? Look forward to hearing from you.

    Thanks Barry
  7. CDitum

    CDitum New Member

    Hi everyone.. would love to connect on all of this as also doing research for my grandfather Jenkin Powell (known as Jenks) who was a mobile radar operator in 15081. He amazingly is still alive at the grand age of 97 and still talks a lot of his time in Code name Nelly and being based at Westkappe Lighthouse. Would love to hear from anyone whose dad/granddad might have known him. Thanks cx
    jonheyworth likes this.
  8. Sky

    Sky Member

    Hello there.... I was interested to see your post. I do not know if my Father Bill Wortley knew your Grandfather as he mentioned very few names to us. However he was in a small Mobile unit 5140Q that was attached to15081 GCI from the time they landed on Omaha , right through Normandy ....into Belgium mainly Den Haan and presumably into Holland and Germany. He spent some time in December on Walcheren Island... and perhaps other occasions but the miniscule records he kept stopped in the first week of January 1945 when the pages of his 44 diary ran out so the time from January until July when he was de-mobbed
    For the past two years in my spare moments I have been following his route and am in the last phases of this very long essay. It would not have been possible without the help of several people on this site including Trux and Noel Burgess, the latter kind enough to send me a precis of a book by Paul Crucq ( the book is out of print in English) about the Westkapelle radar installation. Code Name Nelly... which I would be happy to forward via email.. ( if I can remember how to contact you through the avatar on your nameplate above,) Mr Crucq was also very helpful when I contacted him.
    Your grandfather may have known Harry Warren who wrote an article quite a few years ago about 15081 in a book called 60 Years on edited by David Arnold.
    My father never told us what he did in the war ( just a few stories about 'fun with the lads' ... and I really regret not probing more during his long life .. he lived until 91. I would love to ask your grandfather a few questions about the latter months of the war when I have less information that might make my essay about his experiences complete which I hope I might somehow ensure WW2 talk members could read at some point.
  9. CDitum

    CDitum New Member

    Hi Sky

    I asked my grandfather and he remembers a Bill but not sure of his surname. Where was your Dad from? Would you happen to have a picture of him in his youth I could show my grandfather and see if it jogs anything?

    We actually have a physical copy of code name Nelly at my parents house as my grandfather’s best friend was a man called Geoff Coucke who was also in 15081 and supplied a lot of the pictures for the book.

    I am sure my grandfather wouldn’t mind answering any questions you have as far as he remembers. I would also love to read your article. Sounds great! I’m currently reading through the link from earlier in this thread showing the timelines and memories of D day and following days for any mention of my grandfather’s unit. Fascinating stuff.

    Also I was going to start another thread on his but don’t suppose you still own your Fathers medals do you? My grandfather lost his after the war and often talks about buying copies of them which I would love to sort for him but not sure what medals they received. Keep meaning to reach out to MOD re his service record too but currently life (aka two kids) has got in the way.

    Don’t suppose your dad ever mentioned a man called Micky Cooney did he? My grandfather often talks of him and how sad he was to lose touch with him.

    many thanks... I’ll PM you my email so you can send me over any questions you would like to ask him.

  10. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Last edited: Jan 29, 2021
  11. Grateful365

    Grateful365 Member

    Not sure if this is an appropriate thread to ask this, but I am trying to research my grandfather's RAF Unit's movement/history and I see others on here talking about Unit 15053 which is the unit I believe he was in. Is anyone willing or able to help me? Thanks in advance.
  12. Temujin

    Temujin Member

    Last edited: Mar 25, 2021
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  13. Grateful365

    Grateful365 Member

    Temujin this is incredible information - I cannot thank you enough! Some of the writing is a bit hard to read on the map - was this unit at Belson/Bergen camp? I see the 2nd to last location was Kiel - what was the final stop...is it Schleswig-Holstein (city) or Flensburg?

    My grandfather's RAF papers has Unit 15053 Stamped as the leaving unit so I assume this was his final unit in WW2. Aircrew category/trade is listed as C.W.F. - I searched to find what this means but was unsuccessful - does anyone know?

    This information is all so exciting and interesting!
  14. Temujin

    Temujin Member

    CWF is new to me also. Only thing I could find so far is it IS an RAF trade in 1945, and all I found was “CW Fighter”......what the “CW” means, I do not know.....I’m still searching

    Your other map questions, the best answer is probably the units war diaries. I’ve given you the link in the first post on “where” the information may be at the BNA
  15. Grateful365

    Grateful365 Member

    Thank you - It appears that the records cannot be ordered at this time per the archives website due to Covid. Hopefully soon as I cannot wait to dig in and put some puzzle pieces together.

    I will also search more on CW "Fighter". As far as "Medals, decorations etc." it lists "1939/1945", "France/G" and "Def" - does anyone know any specific information on these?
  16. Temujin

    Temujin Member

    The medals are
    1939/1945 Star
    France and Germany Star
    Defence Medal

    A link to show you these medals and what they were awarded for
    Medals: campaigns, descriptions and eligibility

    Secondly, if you want to learn more (detailed info) on 83 Group, and specifically 83 Group Center (which 15053 reported to) go to this link on this site


    Finally, below is the map I sent you before.....I “enhanced it” so hopefully you can see some of the writing better

    Last edited: Mar 25, 2021
  17. Grateful365

    Grateful365 Member

    Thank you so very much! This is wonderful information and so appreciated. The 2nd link to the group information was the same link as the first (medals info).
  18. Temujin

    Temujin Member

    Opppps......sorry, correct the link now.

    Also, while searching I found this info......it’s another unit, 2798 Squadron, 3 Flight RAF Regiment, a part from their War Diaries.....it mentions them “convoying” to Travemunde, a sea plane base on the coast, with 15053 GCI unit.....also a link to the photo’s from the web page of Travemunde Sea Plane base



    Go down about 1/2 way on this page and you’ll get to the photo’s of Travemunde.

    familyhistory-markkirk - raymondkirk_images

    Also, you note that the 2798 Squadron used its vehicles to take supplies to Belsen concentration camp.....so maybe this is why the comment is in your grandfathers information
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2021
  19. Grateful365

    Grateful365 Member

    This is all fantastic! You are very kind to take the time, it means so much. I cannot stop reading.
  20. P-Squared

    P-Squared Active Member

    I’ve just glanced through this thread and need to find time to sit down and read it properly. In the meantime, thought I’d introduce myself as a former RAF Fighter Controller - served 32 years, retiring in 2013. I did know about my ‘forefathers’ landing at Omaha beach. However, there looks to be much more that is of interest here. Thank you to the contributors. best wishes.
    Owen likes this.

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