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I remember the night before D Day

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: June 24, 2014

  • As a teenager Joy helped her aunt at the sub post office in Cambridge

  • Joy (third from left) and friends at the wedding in Berkeley April 22, 1944

  • The night was a never ending drone of aircraft

  • Joy on her 85th birthday

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MRS JOY Workman remembers D Day, or to be accurate the night before the Invasion of Normandy, and recalls the hours when the sky hummed to the drone of aircraft.

Joy, an avid reader of the Bugle, has been living in our neck of the woods for nigh on seventy years, but it was in Gloucestershire where was born and raised quite close to the River Severn, and recently she was in conversation with the Bugle and told us all about the night she will never forget: "I lived at my aunt Doll's during the war and she was the sub post mistress and operated a mini telephone exchange in the small village of Cambridge on the Bristol Road. I helped her out when I could and sometimes held the fort on the telephone.

"The war had been a stressful time for my aunt, especially when the country was threatened with invasion, as she always expected a dreaded phone to confirm the worst. Thankfully the Germans turned their attention to the east and life pretty much went on as normal. Living quite close to the River Severn we often heard lots of aircraft heading north towards the industries of Birmingham and the Black Country, the German Luftwaffe using the silvery course of the river, especially under a full moon, as a pathfinder to bomb targets in the Midlands and probably Manchester and Liverpool.

"Just a few weeks before the Longest Day on June 6, 1944, I had been celebrating with friends at a wedding in Berkeley, a chance to get all togged up with what we girls could muster during wartime. It was a cheery occasion none the less, and of course we had no idea about the imminent invasion of Normandy. I can't remember an increase in military vehicle activity on the Bristol Road through Cambridge, and I don't think my aunt was any busier than normal in the sub post office, so there was no suggestion of anything untoward.

"It was the start of the first full week in June and as the dusk fell on Monday June 5, little did we know what the small hours would have in store. If my memory serves me correctly it started quite early, a never ending drone of aircraft flying south. All my aunt and myself could mutter to each other was, 'There must be something big going on'. It seemed as if the sky was buzzing with the sound of a thousand aircraft. But the phone at the telephone exchange remained silent. It wasn't until later the following day that we heard all about the biggest invasion in military history.

"I was 17 at the time and nine years later was married and had started a family. Watching the recent commemorations of D Day, it is a stark reminder why we should be indebted to the brave servicemen who defied the odds on the beaches. Had it not been for them and the sacrifice many of them made, our lives may have turned out quite differently."

D Day was a turning point in our history, undertaken by soldiers, sailors and airmen who will never be forgotten. If you have any memories of D Day please contact Bugle House on 01384 567678 or email editor@black countrybugle.co.uk

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