A SOLIHULL veteran has recalled her and her husband’s experiences of the D-Day Landings and the events leading to the Allied campaign.
Joan Sprigg was aged 20 and in the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) when the largest seaborne offensive in history commenced on June 6, 1944, serving in the 2nd Anti-Aircraft Group Command at RAF Uxbridge.
The Normandy campaign which began with the D-Day Landings was widely considered a turning point of World War Two.
Joan, now 95, had joined the war effort in 1939, when she fibbed about her age, declaring she was 16 when she was actually 15 so that she could join the Air Raid Precautions (ARP).
At 18 she joined the ATS and was transferred to RAF Uxbridge, where she worked as a secretary.
Joan’s fiancé Leslie took part in the invasion and survived, and the couple later married.
Today (June 6), she spoke at veteran’s charity The Royal Star & Garter care home in Solihull on the 75th anniversary of the invasion and observed two minutes’ silence with other residents.
“We knew that it was coming, that something was imminent,” said Joan.
“There was a great deal of activity immediately before the D-Day landings.
“When the balloon went up on June 6 we were very busy moving anti-aircraft guns to different parts of the south-east corner of England.
“From our base in Uxbridge you could hear the naval guns involved in the Normandy invasion. It was a terrible, terrible noise.
“I was engaged to a very dashing sailor who was on a motor torpedo boat. He took part in the D-Day landings.
“It was organised chaos. I wasn’t to know he was taking part, but I had a good idea he’d be involved.
“It was a combined operation and the Navy, RAF and Army all had their designated roles and the organisation, which was commanded by Eisenhower, was meticulously plotted and it did go pretty much according to plan.
“Thank God things went our way. There was a tremendous loss of life and a lot of heartache but it was the beginning of the end of the war.”
In Solihull, residents will also visit the National Memorial Arboretum on Friday (June 7).
Activities Manager Charlie Wilson and Activities Assistant Kevin Dempsey then gave a talk, with photos, about their recent visits to the D-Day beaches.