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Brigadier Joseph Howard Nigel Poett

6th Airborne Division - 5th Parachute Brigade - Brigade Headquarters

Sword Beach

 

Then in due course the word was passed back, 'Open the doors'. My personal struggle then began - pushing, cursing, shoving to get enough room for me to be off the doors and able to open them, and time was slipping away as we approached the coast of France. Then success; I was leaning over the open doors. Down below me the sea looked choppy and uninviting. Now we were speeding over the coast defences, at about 400 feet and not a shot was fired at us. Surprise was complete. The red light came on - 'prepare to jump' - then the green, 'jump' and I was out in the night air and, almost immediately, in fact some 20 seconds, a big bump. I had arrived safely on the soil of France. It was all much too quick. I had done none of the things I ought to have done such as identifying Ranville church, or pulling on my lift webs to get a good landing, but I was down and I had not landed on top of one of Rommel's asparagus - anti-airlanding poles - set to catch us.

(Source: "Pure Poett" by Nigel Poett)