Bomber Command Flight Crew – Collingwood’s John Richards, top left
Flight log gives a detailed history of the crew’s activity
Collingwood Connection to D Day
Collingwood has many war heroes. Many.
We honour them all, and thank them for their service.
Here is one story.
The efforts of Bomber Command before, during, and immediately following D-Day are well documented as playing a major role in the operation.
Beginning in April 1944, Bomber Command focused on pre-invasion targets, their main goal being to prevent enemy forces in Normandy from being reinforced by rail.
During the night of 5/6 June, Bomber Command flew 1211 sorties -nearly all in direct support of the invasion forces.
On Tuesday, 6 June 1944 the largest amphibious (land and water) invasion of Normandy during World War II began.
Codenamed Operation Neptune and often referred to as D-Day, the massive operation began the liberation of German-occupied northwestern Europe from Nazi control, and provided the foundation for the Allied victory on the Western Front.
More than 13,000 aircraft and 5,000 ships provided support to the operation.
Code names for the five beaches where the Allies landed were Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword.
It is estimated that approximately 10,000 Allied soldiers were killed, wounded and declared missing in action including 6,603 Americans, 2,700 British, and 946 Canadians.
Our father, the late John K. Richards of Collingwood, a 218 Gold Coast Squadron Bomber Command Lancaster Navigator, was a part of the mission’s air support.
He never talked about it, not once.
It was only after the passing of our parents that we found his Flying Log Book hidden away at the back of a closet in his house. In the box was his log book, a few photos, a pamphlet detailing what to do in case of enemy capture and a neatly folded Union Jack that he had signed along with his other crew members.
Can you imagine the bond these people must have forged together?
No, we can’t.
But we can thank them for their bravery and service to our country on days like these.
—Paul and Ken Richards
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