Box 024, folder 36: Robert C. Lane

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LANE, Robert C. Canadian 3rd Brit. Div. Box 24, #36

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[insert] EXCERPT[end insert} [insert] PUBLIC RELATIONS (ARMY) AUG 5 1958 ARMY H.Q. OTTAWA [end insert] For Cornelius Ryan Book about D-day

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

What is your full name? - Robert Campbell Lane

What was your unit and division? - 5 British Beach Group attache to 3 British Div

Where did you arrive in Normandy, and at what time? Sword Beach (Extreme Eastern Flank) at approx 0800 hrs

What was your rank on June 6, 1944? Captain

What was your age on June 6, 1944? 32

Were you married at that time? No

What is your wife's name? --

Did you have any children at that time? No

What do you do now? Regular Army Officer

When did you know that you were going to be part of the invasion? Approx Mar '44

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? Trip uneventful - slightly rough - one of the ship's officers loaned me the upper bunk in his cabin & I had a good sleep. Everyone on the LST was on deck at first light to hear & see as much as possible. All were excited but quiet.

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). No rumours except our destination. We had been issued with French francs so we [crossed out] illegible [end crossed out]knew it was France but the exact spot varied from Dunkirk to Brittany

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- for Cornelius Ryan 2 - Your name R.C. Lane

Did you by any chance keep a diary of what happened to you that day? No - unfortunately

Were any of your friends killed or wounded either during landing or during the day? Yes

Do you remember any conversations you had with them before they became casualties: No

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? Just before leaving the LST I was feeling in high spirits and a young sailor came up and with a very sad face said "Sir may I shake your hand before you go" He didn't exactly dampen my spirits but I can recall thinking that I wish he wouldn't be quite so melancholy.

Do you recall any incident, sad or heroic or simply memorable, which struck you more than anything else? I walked up on the beach beside [crossed out]our[end crossed out] the orderly room clerk for the Beach Group. He was very young - about 18 or 19. The first thing we saw were a dozen bodies scattered around in the sand. I can distinctly recall the shock of this sight on him. He stopped short as though he had walked into a wall and the colour drained from his face - then he turned his head away and moved on.

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- for Cornelius Ryan 3 - Your name

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? In the afternoon someone shouted that there was a sniper in one of the vacated summer homes facing the Beach (his existance was never confirmed and is extremely doubtful). Immediately everyone within a hundred yards started pouring fire into the house - including the Oerlichons of an LCT beached in front. Tracer bullets set the house afire in about 30 seconds and the fire sperad to - and destroyed three loaded trucks parked nearby. After about another 30 seconds we managed to get the trigger happy troops to cease fire but not before two were wounded by ricochets. Where were you at midnight on June 5, 1944? On shipboard

Where were you at midnight on June 6, 1944? On the Beach - supervising the movement of stores & troops across it - one of the Beach Group functions. 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? [crossed out] No [end crossed out] Yes - Major BB Hart - 1 st Bn Cdn Guards - you can get his correct present address from D Records.

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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