Introduction

The RAF at Omaha Beach

When Operation Overlord commenced on Tuesday 6th June 1944, the largest amphibious landings the World had ever seen started the opening of the second front to defeat the Axis powers. On D-Day alone, 156,000  allied forces landed in Normandy on five separate landing beaches.(1)  Two were allocated to the US forces and three to the British and Canadians. Whilst the allies expected that their superior numbers and overwhelming fire-power would allow the initial landings to be a success, the planners expected the Germans to mount aggressive counter-attacks from land, air and sea. In order to give the maximum protection from the Luftwaffe (German Air Force), the RAF was given the job of providing advanced mobile radar protection to the front lines, one Ground Control Intercept Unit (GCI) accompanying the British beach landings and one seconded to the US.

At that time, the British mobile radar technology was the best in the World  so the British provided the equipment and men to support the US forces on D-Day. These two BDS (Base Defence Sectors) were formed around two GCI. The one accompanied the British on Sword Beach was 24 BDS with 15083 GCI, whilst it was 21 BDS with 15082 that landed on Omaha Beach.(2)

It is the story of the preparation, mission, tragic events and heroism of 21 BDS that this web site seeks to record. Hitherto very little has been written about this gallant band of 120 or so men who bravely executed their mission despite being under sustained fire and significant losses to men and equipment. It is to their memory and honour that this web site is dedicated.

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