Letter: D-Day message of inhumanity

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The Independent Online
Sir: I, too, like Sidney Vines (Letters, 20 April), sailed for Normandy on D-Day; but I disagree with him that we should be engaging in 'a solemn remembrance of the dead'. There were many dead in many other - unsuccessful - campaigns and we remember them all every year in November. What we should be commemorating, yes celebrating, in June is a fantastic British achievement, undertaken with a clear purpose, which even now seems a good one, and with a quite extraordinary lack of mistakes and muddle.

Montgomery came back to England at the beginning of 1944 to find a dispirited higher command saddled with a military plan that nobody believed in. In not much more than a week he transformed a recipe for disaster into almost a guarantee of success. The administrative plan was no less marvellous. No little detail was overlooked in the equipping and bringing together of all those men, vehicles, ships and aircraft.

Then there were the Mulberry harbours, the Pipe Line Under the Ocean and the 'funny' tanks. Above all, there was the achievement of surprise by means of ingenious deception plans, without which the operation would assuredly have failed. These so misled the enemy that they were not expecting an invasion and so did not look for it, enabling that immense armada to assemble and then steam slowly to France without being noticed.

Although more than half the fighting men came from other countries, most of what I have mentioned was the work of the British. What we are entitled to celebrate is a quite unprecedented national feat of organisation, planning and co-operation.

Yours faithfully,

ROGER JAMES

Southsea

20 April

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