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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 defense 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.

And of course, along with the many ships involved where some that were built at the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb Ltd.

Without the amazing job done by the minesweepers there could have been no landing and one of the lead ships was the minesweeper HMS SIDMOUTH Ship No 310 built at the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb Ltd, yet another of the small ship Navy.

The ships crest of HMS SIDMOUTH a Bangor Class Minesweeper built at Leith.

Ships such as HMS PINK Ship No 318 amongst many as this battle did not just last for one day but stretched out for something like 6 weeks before the establishment of forces in Normandy had the capability to make the breakout of the Normandy region on the roads that lead into the heart of Germany.

HMS PINK the final Flower Class Corvette built at the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb Ltd

as Ship No 318

Damaged by U988 27th-29th July 1944 and was regarded as a constructive total loss.

The U-boat was sunk 2 days later.

You will be able to read much more about the Leith Shipyards at War, soon as this is one of the future books being worked on.

Not only warships but also some of the Bustler Class tugs were involved with the gigantic task of towing the huge mulberry harbours over the channel and into position to enable the supply of the ground forces, along with the massive drums that carried the oil pipeline to the French Coast.

Bustler Class Tugs such as BUSTLER and SAMSONIA seen here after the war had their part to play in the invasion plans to re-take Europe in 1944.

You will soon be able to read much more about the role of the eight in total rescue Tugs built at the Henry Robb Shipyard during World War Two.

Look out for the soon to be published book Leith Shipyards at War.

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.

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