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D Day 75th Anniversary: Lucien Laborde’s story

D Day 75th Anniversary is 6 June 2019.

Thousands of US troops were stationed in Cornwall, UK, where they prepared for the Allied invasion of France.

This is part of Lucien Laborde’s fascinating account, the original full interview is available at the digital collection of the National WW2 Museum based in New Orleans.

Laborde was based in Bodmin, Cornwall. He trained in Dartmoor (which is over the county border in Devon), as well as on Bodmin Moor

After arriving in Liverpool, Lucien Laborde was sent to Swindon where he was assigned to the 29th Infantry Division. At Tidworth he joined Company M, 3rd Battalion, of the 115th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division. He was then moved up to 3rd Battalion adjutant.

Training

The regiment Laborde was assigned was in the town of Bodmin. The whole 29th Division moved into the Cornwall area for training. Their training consisted of assaulting hilltops, camping, and operating in marshy areas.

Then they moved north to the assault training centre where everyone had to learn how to swim.

They also did some dry runs loading onto landing barges.

They would circle out into the English Channel then land on Slapton Sands.

The soldiers also trained on the rifle range, learned weapons and aircraft recognition, and practiced anti-aircraft firing.

Laborde was a regimental adjutant when word was passed down that they would be part of the invasion.

Each of the 29th Divisions three regiments set up a war room. The war rooms were well protected and inside had mock ups and descriptions of the invasion beaches.

Some of the officers had the opportunity to fly the invasion beaches in British Mosquitos.

D Day 75th Anniversary

Training on Slapton Sands, Devon, UK

Departing for France

The division was moved to a staging area in Plymouth where they were processed. They made sure that everyone was up to date on their immunizations and that everyone had their dog tags and identification among other things.

Then they loaded on boats.

The 29th Infantry Division is also known as the “Blue and Gray”. It is based in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, USA. It is a formation of the United States Army National Guard and contains units from Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, North Carolina, and West Virginia.

The 116th Regiment was in the first wave of troops ashore during D Day, aka Operation Overlord. It supported a special Ranger unit tasked with clearing strong points at Omaha Beach. The rest of the 29th came ashore later then advanced to Saint-Lô, and eventually through France and into Germany itself.

A granite memorial stone stands dedicated to the men of the 29th Infantry Division,V Corps, US Army, who embarked at Turnaware Point in Cornwall.

 

Why not join us on our D Day 75th Anniversary tour in Cornwall, UK?