D-Day - 6th June 2019
Commemorate the 75th Anniversary of D-Day with D-Day Special Stamps
Royal Mail are commemorating the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings and the Battle of Normandy with D-Day Special Stamps this June.
The next of the Special Stamps Releases contained in Royal Mail’s Special Stamps Calendar for 2019 is a poignant tribute to the brave soldiers who gave their lives during the historic D-Day landings and comes in the form of D-Day Special Stamps.
The 6th of June 2019 will mark 75 years since D-Day, the largest combined naval, air and land operation to have been held in the history of warfare.
On D-Day (6th June 1944), Allied Forces launched a combined naval, air and land assault on Nazi-occupied France.
Codenamed as ‘Operation Neptune’, the Allied landings on the beaches of Normandy marked the start of a strenuous and costly campaign to liberate north-west Europe from German occupation.
As part of these efforts, Allied airborne forces were parachuted into drop zones across northern France, with the ground troops landing across five assault beaches – Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword.
By the end of this fateful day, the Allied forces had established a strong foothold along the coast and could begin their advance into France.
Six stamps have been issued as part of the historic and groundbreaking new issue of D-Day Special Stamps, with each further highlighting the significant impact that the events of D-Day had on the outcome of World War Two.
1st Class – British Soldiers are briefed before embarkation
Throughout 1943 and 1944, the planning and preparation for ‘Operation Overlord’ began to gather in quickening pace in both Britain and the United States.
By the middle of 1943, the U-boat threat to Allied merchant shipping in the Atlantic was largely being countered by effective air patrols, new technological developments and the deciphering of Enigma codes created by German naval forces which enabled convoys to be routed.
However, the success of the invasion would hinge on timing.
Calm weather was noted as being essential to be able to conduct the assault and a low Spring tide was considered vital in order to expose as many of the German beach obstacles as possible.
1st Class – HMS Warspite shelling in support of beach landings
HMS Warspite lays claim to being the first ship to open fire on the enemy during the events of D-Day.
First focusing it’s aim on a German gun battery that showed signs of being operational, HMS Warspite then fired a bombardment of shells upon the enemy forces occupying Normandy at 5:30am.
HMS Warspite continued to conduct fire missions throughout the day in efforts to support the Allied forces’ storm onto the beachfront, aiming its fire towards enemy infantry, groups of enemy vehicles, a command headquarters and gun emplacements set up on the Normandy coastline.
£1.35 – Paratroopers synchronising watches
During the Final Embarkation, four ‘stick’ commanders of 22nd Independent Parachute Company, British 6th Airborne Division, huddled together to synchronize their wrist watches in anticipation for their advance into Normandy.
This striking image was taken in front of an Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle of No. 38 Group at around 11pm on the 5th June, in what were the final moments before taking off from an RAF base in Harwell, Oxfordshire.
The pathfinder unit pictured parachuted into Normandy ahead of the rest of the division in order to mark out the landing zones required.
Each of the officers in this photo were among the first Allied troops to land in France as part of the D-Day landings.
£1.35 – Soldiers wade ashore on Juno
Landing at the Nan Red sector of Juno Beach, the 48 Commando belonging to the 4th Special Service Brigade, were given the objective of assaulting the strongpoint at Langrune-sur-Mer to then link up with the 41 Commando.
When approaching the shore however, two of the unit’s ships collided with underwater obstacles which caused them to sink.
It is known that many of the marines sadly drowned during this collision, as they were weighed down by the equipment they were carrying at the time.
Those of the unit which did make it ashore instantly faced intense small arms fire from enemy forces.
The combined effect of both these factors resulted in only half of 48 Commando surviving the initial assault and progressing inland.
£1.60 – An American light bomber provides air support
While the landing craft carrying the Allied ground forces of ‘Operation Overlord’ headed towards the Normandy beaches on June 6th 1944, they were protected and supported by one of the largest aerial armada the world had ever seen.
This air support was provided by squadrons of Douglas A-20 Havoc light bombers and fighter bombers, that came in low over the beaches in order to bomb and strafe German positions and further gun emplacements on the shore.
Earlier on the morning of D-Day, a stream of glider-towing transport planes helped to deliver both American and British paratroopers on the drop zones surrounding the town of St-Mere- église.
These transports, along with the A-20 Havoc light, medium and fighter bomber planes, all belonged to Lt. Gen Lewis H. Brereton’s United States Ninth Air Force.
£1.60 – British troops take cover as they advance inland
The 2nd Battalion of the East Yorkshire Regiment served with the 8th Infantry Brigade which was attached to the 3rd Infantry Division throughout the entirety of World War Two.
During this time, the 3rd Division was commanded by Major-General Bernard Montgomery, who later went on to command the Anglo-Canadian 21st Army Group.
After their involvement in Dunkirk, the battalion and division spent several years on home defence whilst anticipating a German invasion of England.
As the threat of invasion was lessened in late 1942, they began training for offensive operations, before becoming part of Operation Overlord and the invasion of Normandy in July 1944.