top of page

D-Day, 80 years on

The following was originally an article on my old Blog, to acknowledge the passing of 70 years since this eventful day. Now we are on at 80 years after this historic event in human history. I often wonder if we learn anything from the past when we see war in Europe once more.



June 6th, 1944 – The D-Day Landings


Operation Neptune


Was the code name given to the naval group’s task on this momentous day in 1944.

The protection of NEPTUNE from enemy counter action was essential to the success of the operation. Allied forces were most vulnerable to enemy counter action when they were embarked and at sea. Some 6,900 allied vessels, carrying approximately nine army divisions with full combat equipment, were at sea at one time. These ships were formed into around 75 convoys and groups, passing along narrow coastal lanes, moving across the channel through the narrow mine-swept channels of the allotted areas for the convoys or crowded into the congested confines of the assault area.


Had the enemy not been deterred by a comprehensive program of defence capability in the form of escort ships and of course command of the air, this enormous armada would have presented to enemy air and naval forces a very profitable target.


The largest assembly of Ships and amphibious forces ever seen were to retake Europe from the clutches of the Nazi.

Of course, along with the many ships involved, it was inevitable that some of them had been built at Leith in the Shipyards of Henry Robb Ltd.


You can read about the part played by the Bustler Class Rescue Tugs in my book by the same name available at all good book shops or on Amazon.

They then had to storm the beaches, let’s not forget the many thousands of airborne forces in action on this day and onwards.


Operation Overlord


Operation Overlord, the Allied codename for the invasion of Normandy, involved more than 150,000 men and 6,939 ships.  It consisted of American, British, Canadian, Polish, and Free French Armies under command of General Eisenhower, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force (the choice of Eisenhower was officially made by President Roosevelt in December 1943 and agreed upon by the British).


The Deputy Supreme Commander of the invasion was British Air Chief Marshal Arthur W. Tedder, who had been the commander of the Allied Air Forces in the Mediterranean.  While British Admiral Bertram H. Ramsay, was appointed naval commander.  He had conducted the evacuation at Dunkirk and planned the Torch landing in North Africa.  British Air Chief Marshal Trafford L. Leigh-Mallory was appointed as commander of the air forces.


Bernard Montgomery was chosen as the ground forces' commander.

The rest as they say is History, we must never forget the cost paid by so many for the freedom we now enjoy.

You will be able to read all about the part played in this momentous undertaking by the ships built at Leith. All the ships will be featured in a new book title (Working) Leith Shipyards at War.

This book should be ready late 2025.

39 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page