Veteran Stories:
Fred Turnbull

Navy

  • The Memory Project, Historica Canada
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"I can remember letting down the ramp and jumping over the bow with the rope holding the stern of the craft, keeping it from going broadside. And another reason was, we were going in between mines, [Küstenmine-A anti-invasion] tripod mines, so that we had to keep that stern from hitting these mines."

Transcript

As we got close to the beach, you see, as an example, at Normandy we were about seven miles off the beach.  Now, I think Sicily was about the same, I think, or maybe a little closer.  So going in, we didn’t have too much responsibility as a bowman. It was mostly the coxswain and the stoker were the ones doing everything.  But as we got closer to the beach, I had to get ready, as a bowman, to let down the ramp at the proper time.  I got that instruction from the coxswain who would say, “Down ramp.”  So I would let the ramp down, and the idea that the troops would go down the ramp as quickly as possible.

Now, in Normandy, as well as letting the ramp down, I had to jump over the bow with a rope to keep — the rope was attached to the stern, and the idea was to hold the rope so that the craft wouldn’t go broadside on the beach.  So that was my… I can remember jumping over the bow, with this rope, holding it, and then the stern sheetsman came up the other side and did the same thing on the other side.  So we were actually on the beach before the troops.  Like, in other words, I can remember letting down the ramp and jumping over the bow with the rope holding the stern of the craft, keeping it from going broadside.  And another reason was, we were going in between mines, [Küstenmine-A anti-invasion] tripod mines,* so that we had to keep that stern from hitting these mines.

 

*The Küstenmine-A (KMA) anti-invasion coastal mine was a German ground explosive device on a tripod frame used in the shallow waters off the Normandy beaches.

 

 

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