Harry Warren – “Landed with the Yanks at Omaha Beach”
During the Second World War, Corporal Harry J M Warren, Service No. 1610898, served with the Royal Air Force (RAF) and was in the RAF Radar Unit. During the Normandy Campaign, Harry landed in Normandy with the Americans at Omaha Beach (“Bloody Omaha”) on 3 July 1944 (D +27).
The RAF units looked after the installation, maintenance and operation of radar sites once the Allies had established themselves in Normandy. Immediately prior to the invasion part of the Allied strategy had been to knock out the German communication systems, such as the Radar site at Douvres-la-Délivrande. However, once the Allied bridgehead in Normandy had been established and extended, it was important to get Radar installations fully operational as soon as possible.
Harry told me there were some advantages with being attached to the “Yanks” during the war. For example, the Americans tended to have better rations than the British or Canadians, although there were sometimes problems with getting supplies of tea!
There were also some disadvantages with being attached to the Americans. One potentially serious disadvantage was: because Harry wore a RAF uniform which was rather different to the uniforms some of the Americans were used to, on a few occasions there was a risk of being shot at by Americans, which in later years has become known as ‘friendly fire’.
Luckily, Harry survived the war and has been honoured by the Normandy Council for Veterans for his part in the Normandy campaign. Harry and his wife are now retired and live in the Gosforth area of West Cumbria. They have been back to Normandy on a few occasions to visit the Landing Beaches and some of the places Harry had known from the war years.
2nd February 2010