Box 024, folder 12: Carl Leonard Fitzpatrick

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FITZPATRICK, Carl L.

Canadian Navy

Box 24, #12

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RC Navy 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? Carl Leonard Fitzpatrick

What was your unit and divison? HMCS Blairmore 31st Minesweeping Flotilla RCNVR Where did you arrive in Normandy, and at what time? In area of Pointe de Barfleur on Cherbourg Peninsula at approximately 0300 hrs 6 Jun 44. Ship had been off shore since approximately 2000 hrs 5 Jun 44. What was your rank on June 6, 1944 Able Seaman What was your age on June 6, 191+4? 17 years, 7 months

Were you married at that time? No

What is your wife's name?

Did you have any children at that time?

What do you do now? Lieutenant - Canadian Army Directorate of Public Relations, Ottawa, Ont. When did you know that you were going to be part of the invasion? Suspected it for about four or five weeks prior to event. Almost sure three or four days before, certain of it on 3 Jun 44. What was the trip like during the crossing or the Channel? Do you remember, for example, any conversations you had or how you passed the time? Flotilla actually sailed 4 Jun 44 but recalled. Weather 5-6 Jun 44 considered comparatively smooth by ship' s crew, but those unaccustomed to sea may have found it choppy. Conversations, generally, dealt with expected opposition from German shore batteries, aircraft and E-boats, Most expected we would be hit, if not blown to hell.

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).

Rumour was that we had a very secret, recentlyinstalled radar device aboard to jam German radar and escape discovery. Later, we learned this was true.

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- for Cornelius Ryan 2Your name Carl Leonard Fitzpatrick

Did you by any chance keep a diary of what happened to you that day? No. It was contrary to regulations Were any of your friends killed or wounded either during landing or during the day? Only casualty aboard ship was small, white dog kept as mascot. He developed convulsions from noise of firing of USS Arkansas and jumped over the side. Do you remember any conversations you had with them before they became casualties:

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?

No.

Do you remember seeing or hearing anything that seems funny now, even though it may not have seemed funny at the time? Supply Assistant was drunk and created humourous sight wandering on upper deck, dressed in white, anti-flash gear. He was later locked In brig. Incident contributed to morale because he was considered as a "character" and was well liked by most members of the crew.

Do you recall any incident, sad or heroic or simply memorable, which struck you more than anything else? Absence of opposition from German forces and abundance of Allied aircraft overhead, mostly P 38's. Burning shoreline at night, from bombing and coastal shelling, created quite a spectacle.

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- for Cornelius Ryan 3 Your name Carl Leonard Fitzpatrick

In times of great crisis, people generally show either great ingenuity or self-reliances others do incredibly stupid things. Do you remember any examples of either from D-Day?

Officers' Steward must have performed exemplary job of supplying hot coffee to bridge, because he was one of two members of crew to receive awards (Mention-in-Despatches)

Where were you at midnight on June 5, 1944? Ship was sweeping channel about 18 miles off shore In waters around Cherbourg Peninsula. Where were you at midnight on June 6, 1944? Either sweeping or anchored in same area as mentioned above. Night was very pleasant and most of crew slung hammocks on upper deck to observe sights on shore. We were later ordered below decks because of risk of shrapnel Do you know of anybody else who landed within 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?

Airborne troops: Lt.-Col. D.E. Holmes Commanding Officer 2nd Battalion The Royal Canadian Regiment London, Ont.

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 IF 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

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