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d-day landings

norfolk brummie

gone but not forgotten
Birmingham played its part in the D Day landing in many ways Hundreds of "Brummies" took part in the landings, Much of the equipment used was built by "Brummies". What is less known is that, prior to the landing the streets of Sparkbrook - Anderton Road; Cartland Road; Grace Road; White Road; were used by troops practicing for "street to street" fighting. As a schoolboy I watched them and was fascinated as the soldiers dived into entries, behind walls, and in some houses, used the windows for exercises. The roads were full of military vehicles. I tried to see if my father was one of them but he was not. We thought that the exercise was some sort of practice for a future battle, but we had no idea that D Day was just a short time away.
 

oldMohawk

master brummie
I was a youngster at the time and Mom and dad had many brothers in the army and were worried, we listened all the time to the 'wireless' for news, but we all seemed glad. Later in the war my nan had a large map of Europe on her lounge wall and on it she pinned red flags showing progress from the east and union flags and stars and stripes moving from the west. We followed news of Monty and Ike and Joe Stalin who were our heroes at that time. There was an american army base near where I lived and I met my first 'yanks' as we called them, and also met and spoke to german PoWs who were temporarily held nearby. The picture below although not Brum, somehow reminds me of those times - they were parked and waiting - the kids played skipping ....
Waiting .jpg
 

norfolk brummie

gone but not forgotten
I remember that Swanshurst Park held prisoners of war. I cannot remember if they were Germans or Italians. I do remember that they would lean over the fencing on Yardley Wood Road, and try to talk to passing folk. Also remember the first detached house on Wake Green Road, by the corner of Yardley Wood Road, near to Mackenzie Road, housed American officers.
 

maypolebaz

master brummie
I remember that Swanshurst Park held prisoners of war. I cannot remember if they were Germans or Italians. I do remember that they would lean over the fencing on Yardley Wood Road, and try to talk to passing folk. Also remember the first detached house on Wake Green Road, by the corner of Yardley Wood Road, near to Mackenzie Road, housed American officers.
As a paper kid in the 50s I used to deliver to the huge prefab estate which is now Druids Heath.
I remember seeing, scratched into the road surface "POW 1945", the "W" was the Germanic two "V"s merged.
I don't know where they were from, or their nationality but my mother often talks about the POWs working around our bomb-damaged estate in Highters Heath. I wonder if they came from Swanshurst Park. Apparently one of them gave me a doll he had carved, (I wish I still had it).
 

norfolk brummie

gone but not forgotten
Only a small number of Germans were POW's in England before D Day, mainly aircrew. After the D Day landings hundreds were shipped back to England, and they worked on farms, roads etc. The security always appeared to be quite relaxed, and once they realised that they had lost the war, they probably thought they were in the best place. Not much point in trying to escape.
 

oldbrit

OldBrit in Exile
This is my local newspaper The Denver Post. Just think IF this had happened a day later it would have been on MY B/D! Great photos. Any BRUM members there? John Crump OldBrit. Parker near Denver.Colorado USA
 

Steve R

master brummie
Interesting thread about the Normandy landing. I have been several times now and would suggest it is well worth a visit. Each time I go there is another site that has been excavated or another museum with excellent display and description of the fighting around that area.

On one visit I found the below. It was starting to get dark when I visited UTAH beach and there wasn't any time left to travel to another site so I decided to walk along the beach. Sticking out of the sand was a fired 50 calibre bullet. It is shown displayed with two inert 50 Calibre rounds to show what it would have looked like before being used. I have decided not to clean it as it shows its history better that way. I just cleaned the bottom to see the date which is 1943.

005.JPG006.JPG

The fighting for this beach was very short and the troops moved off the beach without much delay. It was almost certainly fired on D Day and has been washed back and forth from the sea to the beach. It may even have been fired at see and eventually washed up on the beach, we will never know.

Steve R
 
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