This website is dedicated to the 180 or so men of the RAF 1st Echelon of 21-BDS (Base Defence Sector) who landed at about 5.30pm on 6 June 1944 on Omaha Beach, Normandy.

The inspiration for this website came from the discovery of a diary that my father, Squadron Leader Norman Best, wrote during the short time he was seconded to 21-BDS.  I only discovered the diary following the death of my mother in 2004 whilst clearing her effects.

Like many men who serve their country, they did not like to talk about their experiences. This was certainly the case for my father who, despite winning the Military Cross at Normandy, never gave his family any narrative as to how he won it.

The popular view of Omaha Beach was that it was an American beach landing, the place where the heaviest casualties occurred during that momentous day 69 years ago.

Popular history allows most people to know that the invasion of France took place over five beaches in Normandy, of which two were allocated to the Americans and three to the combined British, Canadian and Free French Forces.  The two beaches to the west were allocated to the Americans (Omaha and Utah), whilst the three to the east were to the other Allies (Gold, Sword and Juno).

Any précis of what happened on Omaha Beach would not have the space to record the tiny but significant contribution that the RAF made to the success of that landing. Indeed even the most authoritative book on the subject by the noted historian, Joseph Balkoski, does not find space to recount the misfortunes which the small RAF Radar and Signals Team encountered.

However, on p.340 of Mr Balkoski’s book “Omaha Beach D-Day June 6, 1944” (paperback, 2006 edition, published by Stackpole Books) you will find a photograph of the aftermath of D-Day on June 7, D+1. It shows the wreckage of a US Sherman tank and a collection of burnt-out trucks. The trucks shown in the photograph were some of the RAF Radar vehicles which were destroyed by mortar and gunfire when the RAF men arrived.

It is also the main photograph on the introduction to this website, and is such a poignant memory to the eleven men who died and 37 that were injured when they came ashore at D-Day.

My father was a very modest man – as I am sure were all of the technical experts who faced a fiercely-defended beach when they arrived. He never sought recognition nor fuss.

And yet, the story of 15082 GCI and the other RAF units who landed is important historically and needs telling. This website, together with the plaque, which was organised by Les Dobinson and produced by a Franco-Dutch Group called “Deep Respect” with the help of the townspeople of Vierville-sur-Mer, is a lasting memorial to all of those who landed with the RAF that day.



Our research has led to us to meet many experts and other relations of men who were actually at Omaha either on 6 June or landed subsequently, and meeting wives, sons and daughters of the past generation has been a wonderful experience.  With their help, and particularly the help given to me by David Heathcote, this website seeks to explain why they were there and what became of them during D-Day and beyond.  It is not a complete story and I hope that it will continue to expand as more information becomes available.

I would earnestly welcome correspondence with anyone who feels they can add even snippets of information if they can assist in answering the two fundamental questions and I hope this site will be a lasting memorial to the Royal Air Force at Omaha Beach.

Peter Best

Tetbury, Gloucestershire, England

2 Responses to “Introduction”
  1. Charlie Peck says:

    Hello. My father in law John Moore who is 97 was In 21 BDS and landed on Omaha Beach on the 6th June. After Normandy he was attached to the Canadians in the battle of the Walcheren islands, then near Antwerp during the V2 attacks and finished the war near Luneburg. His memory is not what it was, but still mentions snippets. Do you know if he’s the last survivor of 21 BDS.
    Charlie Peck

    • Peter says:

      Hi Charlie,
      Thank you so much for contacting the web site. In answer to your question, I think so would be the answer! Has your dad written about his experiences? It would be great if we could add his story to the web site. By the way, which part of the country are you? If you would like to use my e-mail address, it is
      Thanks and season’s greetings!
      Peter Best

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