Veteran Stories:
Ronnie Albert Taylor

Navy

  • Soldiers of the 4th Infantry Division wade ashore at Victor sector, Utah Beach, on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Amphibious tanks are lined up at the water’s edge.
    Courtesy of U.S. War Department/National Archives, Washington, D.C.

    Courtesy of U.S. War Department/National Archives, Washington, D.C.
Enlarge Image
Listen to this story

"And that was a successful mission because they wouldn’t expect you to bring the tanks around the back like which they did."

Transcript

Where we lived in Bootle [England], that was getting bombed regular by the Germans. They’d come over every nighttime and bomb Bootle because the docks were there. It was a big docks in Liverpool and Bootle. And they’d come over and try and bomb the docks. And then the night bombers would go away, and then during the day, the day bombers would come over, but not as bad as the night ones because there’d be the day Spitfires. They’d be there in the daytime, but at the night bombers, right, they just have the searchlights on them to find. And then the ack-ack [anti-aircraft] guns would fire at them. That went on for quite a number of years. But I was away at sea when some of that happened. So I didn’t see a great deal, but me family did. They all seen it and lived in it, and one of their houses got bombed completely and destroyed. And they moved out to another one. But that happened quite often with all the people. There was on street completely was demolished. It was one of these small streets with about eight or ten houses on either side and that street was called Harlian Street. And that was completely demolished, the whole of the street. And that was basically all there was there, the bombing day and night until near the end of the war when things slowed down a bit, and they weren’t bombed as much. Three of us who went to school together came home on leave, and as I say, I lived out in the country, and the other two friends, they lived in the street that got destroyed, Harlian Street. As I say, they came home on leave and were killed when they bombed Harlian Street. There was an air raid shelter, but it was actually bombed, but the air raid warden, he went inside the air raid shelter, and there was a woman and three children sitting there, and they were all dead. The bomb sucked all the air out of the air raid shelter and they choked. It was just the three little children and the mother. And where the bomb had dropped, it had sucked all the air out of the air raid shelter and they were killed. But that’s just one incident which there was many a thing like that. Some people would go into an air raid shelter and the air raid shelter could be bombed. But that’s war, that’s what happens. We landed at Utah Beach. That was on the Cherbourg Peninsula. And we landed, I just forget what time it was. It was very early, it was right around 7:00 in the morning. And we landed on the beach and the Germans were on like a hillside. And Omaha Beach was next to us. And they were right underneath where the Germans were on the top, and they were shooting down at the soldiers and at the landing craft. Well, our landing craft was a little to the left of Omaha, and we got shrapnel on all one side of the landing craft. But fortunately, no one was injured at all. Then we let the ramp down and then the tanks went off to American troops we had aboard. The tanks went off, then they went up the beach and went around the back to the hillside where the Germans were shooting down at the British and Americans and that. But the tank went up and around the back and that’s why they done, they deployed them there so that they would get at the Germans. And that was a successful mission because they wouldn’t expect you to bring the tanks around the back like which they did. But then after we discharged the tanks and that, we pulled off the beaches and went to get more stuff. We kept on going in and out and there’d be cargo ships, big cargo ships coming and bringing stuff over and they put it on the landing craft. And the landing craft would take it into the beach. And then eventually, they built what they called Mulberry Harbour. And Mulberry Harbour was some cargo ships and a couple of old naval ships, and they sunk them there and made an imitation harbour. So that when the landing craft of the other, they’d come and they could get behind. If it was bad weather or anything like that, they’d bring their landing craft in and they’d take it into Mulberry Harbour and they were protected from the weather then. And they’d load stuff onto the landing craft from the cargo ships and they could take it into the beaches then. But it was a really good experience.
Follow us