D-Day ~ June 6, 1944

N.H. veterans recall service 75 years later

Written by Nick Stoico, photography by Geoff Forester

75 years ago this week, American forces led an invasion that changed history. The ‘Monitor’ spoke with four local veterans of that multi-day operation.

From AP: One by one, D-Day memories fade as war’s witnesses die

Day 1: June 3

One Long Day

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Robert Barnard had enlisted in the U.S. Navy on his 17th birthday and was part of the D-Day invasion.

"It wasn’t supposed to be like that,” Barnard said, reflecting on the day as he sat for an interview at Pleasant View Retirement in Concord. “They were supposed to be cleared because the bombers would go over prior to our invasion. Well, it turned out the bombers dropped their bombs inland a little too much. So we were left with the Germans and everything facing us.”

Day 2: June 4

Unburying memories

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Joe Bennett, who turned 101 in April, arrived in Normandy via Omaha Beach on June 11, 1944, with the U.S. Army’s 67th Armored Regiment, five days after the Allied invasion of Nazi-occupied France began.

“I didn’t want to be in it, but I was in it,” he said.

Day 3: June 5

Engineering an invasion

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Don Williams was drafted into the Army in 1942. His interest in engineering would be put to use – after basic training at Fort Dix, Williams was assigned to be a combat engineer and would spend time in Europe building bridges for the Allies in Nazi-occupied territory.

Day 4: June 6

'I went through hell'

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Robert Giguere was assigned to the 6th Naval Beach Battalion and was part of the third wave of Allied troops to hit the shores of Normandy on June 6, 1944, where they were immediately met with fierce firepower from the German pillboxes perched high on the cliffs overlooking the beach.

“It was one hell of a mess,” Giguere said 75 years later in an interview at the Tilton Veterans Home.



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