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Captain J. A. Morrison

6th Airborne Division - Glider Pilot Regiment - No.1 Wing - D Squadron

Sword Beach

 

It was about 2100 hrs on 6 Jun 44 that we crossed the French coast and headed towards our Landing Zone. There was flak coming up from Ouistreham but this did not worry us particularly as it seemed to be aimed at the gliders to our port, and as we approached the church at COLLEVILLE SUR ORNE, I said goodbye to my tug crew and pulled off. There was a feeling of great elation as we neared the field into which we were to land for we had practically 'made it'. We had been briefed to land from West to East, but as the 'Harwell' gliders were landing from South to North I decided to lead by stream in, in the same direction. At this point we could not see any landing strips, and as the gliders seemed to be piling up in all directions it looked as if we were in for an exciting landing.

 Luckily, S/Sgt. Beech, my second pilot saw an area in which the [anti-glider] poles had not been placed. It was a ploughed field about 70 yards long by 40 yards wide, and we managed to get down without any trouble. From that moment we were frantically busy, and hadn't time to worry about the sniper and L.M.G. fire which seemed to be coming from the area to the South of our L.Z. It was there that S/Sgt. Richardson and S/Sgt. Fraser captured two prisoners.

When coming into land S/Sgt. Richardson noticed three Huns shooting at him from a camouflaged pit about 100 yards in front. He quickly warned his load that they would have to deal with trouble after landing, and then he dived his glider at the enemy position, landing practically on top of it. He and his load jumped out and captured two of the three snipers. The third had run off into the hedge from whence he commenced to pepper them. S/Sgt. Richardson then took two men and stalked the Hun, and was just about to attack him when a British tank which had spotted the trouble, machine-gunned the hedgerow killing the sniper.

The immediate task of our force was to unload our glider and get to the R.V. as soon as possible. This we did, and arrived in the Squadron area in time to assist the men into the Flight Areas. I had already chosen these from the photographs and I was able to give out my orders and start my men digging within an hour of landing.

The Squadron Area was positioned along a high hedge containing a ditch, which provided us concealment from air and ground, although our field of fire was considerably reduced by corn standing about 3 ft high. Accordingly we improvised by digging a slit trench deep enough to provide ample cover against blast or shelling but with a step from which we could fire over the corn. The men were in high spirits and went to work magnificently and by 2330 hrs I was able to inform the O.C. Ian Force that we were prepared for anything.

The night was quite uneventful apart from slight bombing directed at the Fleet, although we were quite grateful for the narrow trench as there was a lot of 'stuff' coming down.

(Source: Operation "Mallard" , Report)