Box 024, folder 02: Francis J. Davies

ReadAboutContentsHelp

Pages

ryan_box024-tld_f02_01
Complete

ryan_box024-tld_f02_01

DAVIES, Francis J. Canadian 3rd Div. Box 24, #2

Last edit about 3 years ago by Magoo
ryan_box024-tld_f02_02
Complete

ryan_box024-tld_f02_02

RCA EXCERPT.

For Cornelius Ryan Book about D-day

THOUSANDS OF MEN, ON LAND AND SEA AND IN THE AIR, PARTICIPATED IN THE INVASION OF NORMANDY BETWEEN MIDNIGHT JUNE 5, 1944 AND MIDNIGHT JUNE 6, 1944. IF YOU WERE ONE OF THEM, PLEASE ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS.

What is your full name? FRANCES J. DAVIES

What was your unit and division? 14th FIELD REGIMENT OF ARTILLERY 3RD CANADIAN DIVISION (81ST FIELD BATTERY) (SELF PROPELLED) Where did you arrive in Normandy, and at what time? BERNIER-SUR-MER APPROX. 7.50 AM, after supporting the initial landings from a mile off-shore. What was your rank on June 6, 1944? LANCE BOMBARDIER

What was your age on June 6, 1944? 22

Were you married at that time? No

What is your wife's name? ROSE DAVIES

Did you have any children at that time? No

What do you do now? STAFF SERGEANT , ARMY HEADQUARTERS . ASSISTANT SUPERVISOR OF A MACHINE ACCOUNTING SECTION (IBM)

When did you know that you were going to be part of the invasion? SEE Para 1 OF APPENDIX "A"

What was the trip like during the crossing of the Channel? Do you remember, for example, any conversations you had or how you passed the time? A Tank Landing Craft is not the ideal vehicle for rough water. The daylight hours were spent in competition to see who would be the first to keep down a can of self-heating Oxtail soup. Darkness brought even rougher water, and we spent the night cat-napping and tightening cables to stop our tanks and guns from rolling through the side of the craft. There were a few exchanges of addresses of next of kin, but noone on our craft seemed too worried about what tomorrow would bring. What were the rumors on board the boat, ship or plane in which you made the crossing? (Some people remember scuttlebut to the effect that the Germans had poured gasoline on the water and planned to set it afire when the troops came in). SEE PARA 2 OF APPX 'A'

Last edit about 3 years ago by Magoo
ryan_box024-tld_f02_03
Complete

ryan_box024-tld_f02_03

- for Cornelius Ryan 2Your name FRANCIS J. DAVIES

Did you by any chance keep a diary of what happened to you that day? No. It was made very clear to most of us that for security reasons, in the event of capture, diaries were declared Taboo.

Were any of your friends killed or wounded either during landing or during the day? [crossed out] No close friends. Our major, his signaller and a tech assistant were killed during the initial landing when they hit an underwater mine [end crossed out] See para 3 of appx 'A' Do you remember any conversations you had with them before they became casualties: A few minutes before the mortars hit us the sergeant major had commented on the terrain to the effect that: "I hope we don't fire from here all night. there's too much cover behind us, and not enough in front." This actually proved a blessing. We saw the mortars ranging on us and had time to take cover before they found the target.

Were you wounded? No.

Do you remember what it was like--that is, do you remember whether you felt any pain or were so surprised that you felt nothing?

Do you remember seeing or hearing anything that seems funny now, even though it may not have seemed funny at the time? .I remember That in my own stupid way, I found it hard to believe that after all the exercises we had been on, someone was finally shooting back at us. The knowledge nearly cost me my life - See para 4 of appx 'A'.

Do you recall any incident, sad or heroic or simply memorable, which struck you more than anything else? See para 5 of Appx 'A'

Last edit about 3 years ago by Magoo
ryan_box024-tld_f02_04
Complete

ryan_box024-tld_f02_04

- for Cornelius Ryan 3 - Your name FRANCIS J. DAVIES

In times of great crisis, people generally show either great ingenuity or self-reliance; others do incredibly stupid things. Do you remember any examples of either from D-Day? I remember that while I was down in the tank thanking my stars I had ducked in time, the driver risked his life to climb into the co-driver's seatand let go with the 30 calibre Browning mounted there. i don't know if it was heroism or devotion to duty, but I do know it's impossble to climb from the ground into the driver's hatch of a Sherman tank without exposing yourself completely to whatever may be in front. I'm sorry I can't remember his name, but he made it, without a scratch. Where were you at midnight on June 5, 1944? Somewhere between the Southampton docks and the middle of the English Channel. Where were you at midnight on June 6, 1944? Not many miles from "Benny"-Sur-Mer - in the middle of a wheat field, receiving wireless fire orders from our Troup Captain, who was at a Foreward Observation post not too far away. Do you Know or anybody else who landed wlthin the 24 hours of D-day, June 6, as infantry, glider or airborne troops, or who took part in the air and sea operations, whom we should write to? I'm sorry. I have completely lost touch with my old regiment and all it's members,but I believe the 66th/81st Association still exists in Montreal.

PLEASE LET US HAVE THIS QUESTIONNAIRE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, SO THAT WE CAN INCLUDE YOUR EXPERIENCES IN THE BOOK. WE HOPE THAT YOU WILL CONTINUE YOUR STORY ON SEPARATE SHEETS IP WE HAVE NOT LEFT SUFFICIENT ROOM. FULL ACKNOWLEDGEMENT WILL BE GIVEN IN A CHAPTER CALLED "WHERE THEY ARE NOW;" YOUR NAME AND VOCATION OR OCCUPATION WILL BE LISTED.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP .

W.A. Milroy Lt.-Col. Director of Public Relations(Army) Cartier Square, Ottawa, Ontario

Last edit about 3 years ago by Magoo
ryan_box024-tld_f02_05
Complete

ryan_box024-tld_f02_05

APPENDIX "A" TO (1) "FOR CORNELIUS RYAN" FRANCIS J.DAVIES

1. When did we know we were going to be part of the invasion?

(a) From the time of the North African Invasion, the grapevine had the 3rd Divisionpositively slated for the next invasion. (b) When they took away our 25 -pounders and re-equipped us as a self-propelled regiment in March of 44, we knew the time was getting close. This knowledge was [crossed out] a [end crossed out] strenghtened by numerous waterproofing and "wet landing" exercises, one right after the other. (c) All remaining doubt was removed when they moved us into a concentration area not far from Southhampton after oe of the "wet" exercises. This time the waterproofing was left n the vehicles. The normal order at the [crossed out] end [end crossed out] [inserted] conclusion [end inserted] of an exercise had so far been: "OK you guys, de-waterproof and shine up!" This time it was: "Check your gear. If there were any leaks patch them up [crossed out] and [end crosed out] good!" What were the rumors? 2. We were fairly isolated as a regiment for some time, and even up to the moment of sailing there was no reassurance that any more than our own division was taking part. Scuttlebut had it that Jerry already knew. and probably had everything ready for us. Memories of Dieppe were renewed, and the conjecture was that if Jerry knew where; if the coast was anything like

Last edit about 3 years ago by Magoo
Displaying pages 1 - 5 of 8 in total