D-Day landings marked in Wymondham

Wymondham will mark the D-Day landings of 1944 with a special display at Wymondham Heritage Museum throughout June.

Wymondham will mark the D-Day landings of 1944 with a special display at Wymondham Heritage Museum throughout June.

On June 6, British veterans of the Normandy landings will mark the 65th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, described by General Eisenhower, Allied commander in his message to the forces, as the 'great crusade'.

Wymondham railway station, the American hospital at Morley, now Wymondham College, the American airbases at Deopham Green and Old Buckenham, all played their part in these dramatic events.

In the D-Day campaign and after, more than 3,000 wounded American soldiers were brought across the Channel to Dover and other ports and conveyed by trains staffed by American nurses to Wymondham station.

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Fred Squires, a 10-year-old, and his sister, were crossing the bridge when a train came in. She said: 'When they unloaded the wounded men it brought home what the war was all about.'

Ambulances took them to the hospital and would queue up along Golf Links Lane in Morley.

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On May 29, the American Army hospital at Morley was ordered to expand from 834 beds to 1,254 in 24 hours. Tents were put up between the wards housed in nissen huts.

Some 70pc of the wounded were orthopaedic cases and the staff in that department worked 11 days and nights without an uninterrupted night's sleep. The hospital was awarded a commendation for its work during this period.

Meanwhile at Old Buckenham airfield Col Ramsey Potts and Lt Col James Stewart briefed the airmen on their D-Day task. They had to destroy installations of enemy forces between Le Havre and Cherbourg and as far as Caen. Returning pilots saw barge after barge of allied forces crossing the Channel.

The men of Deopham Green also played their part attacking the huge battery at Caen at 7. 01am, just 25 minutes before the assault troops hit the beaches. All returned safely.

To commemorate D-Day, there will be a special exhibition of photographs and memories, at Wymondham Heritage Museum from June 1 - 30, about these dramatic events. The museum is open Monday - Saturday, 10am - 4pm and the first Sunday in each month 2-4pm.

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