Cornelius Ryan WWII papers, box 019, folder 36: Denis Waring Biddle

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BIDDLE, Denis Waring British 50th Div. Box 19, #36

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Extracts E THE ASSAULT LANDINGS IN NORMANDY

D DAY: MIDNIGHT JUNE 5 -- MIDNIGHT JUNE 6

Ack 6/6/58

What is your full name? Denis Waring Biddle

What is your present address? Temple Hill, East Budleigh Devon

Telephone number: Budleigh Salterton 146

What was your unit, division, corps? 2 Glosters - 56 Inf. Bde 50 DIV.

Where did you land and at what time? 10 am approx one mile to EAST of Le Hamel

What was your rank and age on June 6, 1944? LT. Col. 36.

Were you married at that time? yes.

What is your wife's name? Gertrude

Did you have any children at that time? Yes Two.

When did you know that you were going to be part of the invasion? about about Mid April 1944

What was the trip like during the crossing of the Channel? Do you remember, for example, any conversations you had or how you passed the time? It was fairly rough and a good many soldiers were sick. However we had some excellent tins of self heating soup - quite first class. Never seen any since!

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2.

Were any of your friends killed or wounded either during the landing or during the day?

Not that I can remember

Do you remember any conversations you had with them before they became casualties?

N/A-

Were you wounded?

Not on D Day but later on in Normandy

How were you wounded?

Do you remember what it was like — that is, do you remember whether you felt any pain or were you so surprised that you felt nothing?

Do you remember seeing or hearing anything that seems funny now, even though it may not have seemed amusing at the time? Or anything unexpected or outof-place?

Against orders we tooka Motor Cycle on the L.C.1. for communications when [?]. It proved invaluable as we did not meet up with our essential command vehicles for some time. When the M/C went down the ramp the sea was so deep only the rider's head & shoulders were visible. Rider Major P. Barton

Do you recall any incident, sad or heroic, or simply memorable , that struck you more than anything else?

We had been issued with thigh length Plastic waders. They were quite useless for troops with heavy equipment. I saw many soldiers fall over as their "waders" filled with water. If the idea was get the troops as wet as possible these "waders" certainly achieved this".

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3. In times of great crisis, people generally show either great ingenuity or self-reliance; others do incredibly strange or stupid things. Do you remember any examples of either? Everybody I saw behaved in normally It was not half as bad as expected but maybe we were lucky. I recollect eating a good lunch under a road culvert whilst some heavy shelling was in progress. Maybe we were lucky. We were assigned to [?caffene?] [crossed out] Do you know of anybody else who landed within the 24 hours (midnight 5 June to midnight 6 June) either as infantry, glider or airborne troops, whom we should write to?[end of crossed out] BAYEUX on D Day. We got to the outskirts just before dark on D Day And entered the town eary a D +1.

What do you do now? I work in the Infantry Record Office Exeter.

Please let us have this questionnaire as soon as possible, so that we can include your experiences in the book. We hope that you will continue your story on separate sheets if we have not left sufficient room. Full acknowledgement will be given in a chapter called "Where They Are Now."

Cornelius Ryan Joan O. Isaacs The Reader's Digest

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BUDLEIGH SALTERTON 146 JOI

TEMPLE HILL, EAST BUDLEIGH, DEVON.

13 May 58

Dear Madam,

The Secretary of the Gloster Regt ASSN has passsed on your letter Re. D DAY. 1944. I was commanding 2nd Glosters at that time we were attached to 50 DIV. for the assault landing If you would like to contact Major NASH Tele: Mincheend 869 - he was the Adjutant at that time or Major Holegate c/o H.Q.

Last edit about 2 months ago by SarahAnn
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