The Crew
About The Landing Craft Infantry



June 1944

June 6, 1944

D-Day - Normandy Invasion
Operation "Overlord" and "Neptune"

Much has been written about D-Day and its pivotal role in world history. A large collection of materials found in a General Overview of D-Day provides information, photos, combat videos and other related materials pertaining to the planning, events and actual landings at Omaha, Utah, Gold, Juno and Sword Beach.  Also, additional details noted in the World War II campaign summary includes logistical information related to the largest ground and naval forces ever assembled that were needed for Operation Overlord and Neptune. 

As D-Day was unfolding on French beaches, President Roosevelt made this statement to the American public concerning the Invasion at Normandy.

"Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation this day have set on a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and set free a suffering humanity...They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph. They will be sore tired, by night and by day, without rest-until the victory is won."

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (June 6, 1944)

as published in Tom Brokow's "The Greatest Generation"

General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force gave the following note to all those about to participate in the Invasion of Normandy (Dad made the annotations on his note):

Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower's Letter to the allied forces on D-Day

USS LCI (L) 35 Participation-Sword Beach

June 1, 1944
In getting ready for the invasion, the LCI (L) 35 began preparations for carrying troops on Thursday June 1st. This was the same day that HMLCI 111 backed into the bow of the LCI (L) 35 putting a 10 inch diameter hole in its starboard peak tank.

June 2, 1944

On Friday June 2nd the entire crew, (except for 4) mustered on the docks in undress blues and attended pre-invasion lectures and movies from 1130 until 1445. At 1200 "All liberties were cancelled until further notice" and by 1500 the "Ship has been stripped of unnecessary gear--finished camouflage painting--now ready and waiting to take on troops."

June 3-4, 1944
On Saturday June 3rd and Sunday June 4th, just normal cleaning was undertaken while the ship awaited troops to board.

The LCI (L) 35 with the 190 troops on board preparing to leave for the invasion of Normandy is shown in the photo on the right.

June 5, 1944

On Monday June 5th the following entries of note were made in the LCI (L) 35 deck log.

*At 0415 General Eisenhower gave his order "Okay, Let's Go!" and the Invasion of Normandy began.

LCI (L) 35
Ship has "Ready-Duty" for the day
British troops coming aboard - 190 men
Got underway-loaded with troops-Left for the Invasion of Normandy, France
Crew was given brief talk-then donned chemically treated gas protective clothing-gas masks-over shoulder and helmets. Went to battle stations for entire trip.
Sailing with convoy of USS LCIs and HM LCIs

Courtesy of National Archives


June 6, 1944
LCI (L) 35 - Landing at Sword Beach
The beach obstacles at Sword confronting the troops landing were extensive but the dunes were not as high as Utah, and instead of bluffs behind the seawall there were French vacation homes. Some of these were torn down to give a better field of fire for the German troops, while others were used as strong points. There were casements, large and small scattered along the coast.

The plan for Sword called for the British 3rd Division, with French and British Commandos attached, to push across Sword Beach then pass through Ouistreham to capture Caen and Carpiquet (Airport).

From Stephen E. Ambrose,

D-Day June 6, 1944-The Climactic Battle of World War II

The following map provides an overview of the D-Day Landings and includes the Sword Beach Area near the Orne River and City of Ouistreham.  The map below indicates the LCI 35 landed in the Roger Red Sector of the Sword Beach landing area. Other documents and maps indicate that the actual landing site designations may have been changed and that the LCI 35 landed in the most easterly position (exit 26) of the Sword Beach Queen Red Sector.

Roger Red area Map of Sword Beach

The two aerial views below were taken sometime during the D-Day invasion on Sword Beach.  These photos were obtained by Richard Anderson from the National Archives.


Aerial view of Sword Beach 0800
Early morning (0800) Aerial View of Sword Beach

D-Day June 6, 1944

This photo shows a B-26 Marauder aircraft and most likely LCAs and LCTs on the beach as part of Assault Group S-3 with the 8th British Infantry Brigade.  The LCI 35 landed to the left of the 2 ships laying parallel to the beach in the center of the photo.

Photo and Information from British National Archives

Courtesy of Richard Anderson

Aerial view of Sword beach 0900
Aerial View (around 0900) of Sword Beach

D-Day June 6, 1944

The photo above, probably taken from a special reconnaissance aircraft, reveals many more men and vehicles are already on the beach but prior to the Assault Group S-2 landings. The LCI 35 landed on the far right in this photo.

Photo and Information from British National Archives

Courtesy of Richard Anderson

From the LCI (L) 35 Deck Log - June 6, 1944

LCI (L) 35
Nearing Coast of France
Everyone went to Beaching Stations
Started towards beach with ramps in dropping position
USS LCIs' and HM LCIs broke columns-now going into beach-ships abreast of each other. British troops ready to disembark
Hit beach-smooth landing.  Sword Area near River Orne
British troops started to disembark. Under enemy fire while on beach. Shells landed close
Troops Unloaded
Took in ramps
Started pulling ship off beach with stern anchor. Could not get anchor up. It was caught on submerged wreckage of an Army Tank. While repeated efforts were made to hoist anchor, ship was drifting to port towards two small boats wrecked near shore. Seeing imminent danger of collision, Mr. D.A. Lewis (CO) ordered anchor cable cut, then with skillful maneuvering backed the ship off beach. Lost anchor and about 500 ft of cable.
Off beach-headed to sea
Underway for rendezvous area
Off coast of France near town of Ouistreham, Normandy
Forming disposition in convoy of USS LCIs' and HM LCIs' underway to Newhaven, England
Beaching stations secured-men went to battle stations
Pilot House and engine room watches were relieved
All's well
Watches were relieved
Sailing along with convoy

Courtesy of National Archives

D-Day - H-Hour at Sword Beach

From the Conning Tower of LCI 35

D-Day Landing 1 Sword Beach

British troops disembarking from LCI (L) 35 onto Sword Beach on D-Day. The disembarkation occurred between 1122 -1130 while the ship was under enemy artillery fire from German 88's.

D-Day Landing (2)  LCI 35

This photo was also taken during the eight minutes that the LCI 35 was disembarking troops.  This photo shows less British Soldiers on the beach than shown in the other photo above.


Clarence Robins

Clarence Robins

Clarence Robins believed that German 88 artillery fire came close to the LCI 35 during the Invasion. So close in fact that he thought that the LCI (L) 35 was being "bracketed".   Enemy gunfire landed shells on both sides of the ship. Fortunately, when Skipper Lewis made the decision to cut the cable from the submerged army tank, he moved the ship right before an enemy shell exploded in the ship's wake.  The shell had landed in the exact spot where the LCI (L) 35 had just moved. He also indicated that Skipper Lewis handled himself well during the Invasion.

LCIs 9 and 14 Sword Beach

Photo Courtesy of Joe Logan Sr. (LCI 219 and LCI 216) and Joe Logan Jr.

LCIs are shown disembarking troops on Sword Beach.  These LCIs probably were a little west of the landing area of LCI 35. 

LCIs14 and 9 Sword Beach

Photo Courtesy of Joe Logan Sr. (LCI 219 and LCI 216) and Joe Logan Jr.

The photo above showing the landing of troops from the LCI 9 and LCI 14 is also believed to have been taken on Sword Beach.


British LCI and LCT Association Archivist Comments on Sword Beach

Additional information pertaining to the LCI (L) 35 landing at Sword Beach was initially provided by Tony Chapman, the official archivist for the British LCI and LCT Association.  More details were added by Richard Anderson, a researcher who obtained most of the information from the British National Archives at Kew and are from the Operation Neptune planning documents and after action reports. Most of his research is related to the initial assault waves, especially the Landing Craft Tank (LCT) landings with the British "Funnies".  He is scheduled to have a book on the D-Day Landings published in July 2009 (Stackpole Books). The information below regarding the Sword Beach landings was provided by Tony Chapman and Richard Anderson.

The Invasion Landings at Sword Beach

LCI (L) 35 landed with Flotilla 2, Group 4 Division 8 of the USS LCIs assigned to the "I" Landing Craft Tank Squadron under the command of Lt. Commander M.O.W. Miller, RN.**   According to both Tony Chapman and Richard Anderson, the LCI (L) 35 was part of the Intermediate Group S2 (second wave) assigned to carry English soldiers. In addition to the US LCIs, Miller's squadron was comprised of the British 251st and 263rd LCI (L) Flotillas in company with the 40th, 42nd, and 48th LCT Flotillas (Mk4's). 

There were a total of 10 USS LCIs participating in the landing at Sword Beach.  These included LCI (L): 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 33, 35, 193,  and 283. 

The 251st LCI (L) Flotilla was comprised of LCIs: 180 (F), 130, 131, 134, 183, and 291. 

The 263rd LCI (L) Flotilla included LCIs:  380 (F), 126, 164, 165, 169, 171, 179, 181, 300, 377, 378, and 379.

The Queen Red Assault Troops from the 8th Infantry Brigade included the following:

1st Special Service Force

3rd Commando

4th Commando

6th Commando

45th Royal Marine Commando

79th Squadron, 5th Assault Regimen, RE

2nd East Yorkshire Regiment

**Note:  Lt. Commander Max Owens Waldemar Miller's (M.O.W. Miller) recollections provide " an incisive and often amusing account of a Landing Craft Tank Squadron from early training in the harsh, cold winter of 1943/44 in the Moray Firth in Scotland to the hazardous landings on the Normandy beaches on D-Day June 6 1944".

(For his actions in Normandy, Lt. Commander M.O.W. Miller received the Royal Navy Distinguished Service Cross.)

The first assault went to the Assault Group S3 of the British 8th Brigade. Tony indicated that they suffered "grievously" going ashore at Sword. Tony also indicated that the reserve British 9th Brigade of Assault Group S1 was the last assault group at Sword Beach.

First Landing Shells are Popping

Dad captioned the photo above "First Landing-Shells are Popping".

Tony also raised an interesting point while providing information on the Sword Beach landings. It appears that the US LCIs may not have been part of the original plan for the Sword Beach landings, but because of the shortage of available British LCIs, were included to make up for the shortfall. This fact was later confirmed by a Flotilla 251 officer of the Royal Navy and this finding was further substantiated by Richard Anderson's research.  The initial planning for the Allied Naval Deployment for "Neptune" listed LCIs 33, 35, as part of LCI (L) Flotilla 2, Group 5, Division 7 and were to be included in Assault Force U scheduled for H-Hour 0630.  However, LCI 33 and LCI 35 were redeployed to Group 4, Division 8. 


Sword Beach Landing Area (Exit 26) as of Summer 2007

According to Colin Henderson, who has done extensive research on the Sword Beach landings, the LCI 35 landed in front of exit 26 (the last and most easterly).  The 2 photos of the LCI 35 above on H-Hour show troops disembarking from the ramps and moving diagonally for exit 25.  Many of the buildings from World War II are still standing, and according to Colin, many of these buildings were originally to house German Prisoners from the First World War.  They were later used as holiday camps between World War I and World War II.  The photo below shows Sword Beach as it appeared in the summer of 2007.


Sword Beach as it was in the summber of 2007

Photo Courtesy of Colin Henderson

Taken Summer 2007

**LCI 85, 91, 92, 93, 232, 497, 553, Sunk off Northern France, 6 June 1944

Clarence Robins just before the invasion of Normandy

Preparing for the Invasion

Photo of Clarence Robins (by flag) Just Before the Invasion

LCI 35 Code number 424
In preparation for the Invasion, ships were assigned code numbers. LCI (L) 35 was assigned the code number 424.
Leaving Newhaven for the Invasion of Normandy

Leaving For Invasion of Normandy

From Newhaven, England - June 5, 1944

Cross Channel Crossing

Cross-Channel Crossing

Ships involved in the invasion included US and British LCIs

British Warship HMS Rodney

British Warship HMS Rodney

Part of the Invasion force

(Eastern Task Force Reserves).

LCI 12 in the Flotilla underway for Normandy

Photo Captioned LCIs in our Flotilla. 

The LCI (L) 12 is pictured above.

Water breaking over the bow of the LCI 35 on the way to NormandyWater breaking over the bow of the LCI 35

The photos above show waves

breaking across the bow of the LCI (L) 35 during the cross-channel crossing.

Bill Breshears and Dick Cutillo on the LCI 35 deck

Bill Breshears and Dick Cutillo

On the LCI 35 deck while underway for the Invasion of Normandy.

LCI 35 underway "the Lull Before the Storm"
Just before the Landing
Photo captioned "Lull Before the Storm"
Nearing the Normandy landing area

Nearing the Landing Area

Newsweek Magazine May 23, 1994 showing invasion of Normandy
Newsweek Magazine, May 23, 1994

South Lancashire and Middlesex Regiments coming ashore at Sword beach
The widely available photo above shows the Lancashire and Middlesex Regiments coming ashore in the Queen White Sector of Sword Beach.
Lord Lovat's Special services Brigade coming ashore at Sword Beach
Another widely available photo shows Lord Lovat's Special Services Brigade coming ashore at Sword Beach.  This landing was also caught on film.
Number 4 Commandos in Quistreham

Sword Beach and Ouistreham

The timeline from the D-Day Museum indicates that at 1230 the British 185th Infantry Brigade began its assault on the town of Ouistreham. The photo above shows the Number 4 Commandos in Ouistreham.

Richard Michaelson and Donald Lewis

Richard Michaelson (L) and

Donald Lewis, CO (R)

Bill Breshears with Lady the LCI 35 mascot

Bill Breshears with Lady (LCI 35 mascot)

Photo taken right after the Invasion when the ship was underway back to Newhaven, England.

LCI 35 returning to Newhaven after invasion of Normandy
The photo above shows the bow of the LCI (L) 35 as she was returning to Newhaven after the Normandy Invasion.  When the LCI 35 arrived back in Newhaven, a spare anchor was attached and the troop compartments and entire ship were cleaned.
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