Dennis Gregson was nineteen years old, a Royal Marine and coxswain of a landing craft on D-Day and remembered bringing his cargo of military cooks with their equipment into Gold Beach just a few hours after the initial landings.
We set off from the Isle of Wight probably about midnight that night carrying a Lorry and three 8th Army cooks. We were on board an LCM, which was a flat-bottomed landing craft and my word, it was rough. By the time we were half way across everyone was sea-sick and fed up, it was a terrible crossing!
In the darkness it was very difficult to keep with the rest of our flotilla as we all travelled at different speeds, so we headed for our landing beaches as best we could, everything was going in the same direction. I remember when we first saw the coast, there was a feeling of real apprehension, nobody knew what it would be like, we didn’t know what to expect.
We could hear these big warships firing away, it was an incredible sound. By this time, the troops were just moving inland. We were supposed to land on Gold beach, but it was just chaos, thousands of ships and vehicles landing. There were all sorts; tanks, troops, supplies, all moving onto the shore.
“The naval guns fired all night, it was like hell let loose - there was no sleeping for anyone that night.”
We could see where the troops had come ashore and all sorts of material and debris lying around. It was about noon on D-Day by the time we landed, and our Army cooks were desperate to get ashore, they had been sick for hours and just wanted to get away. So, we dropped the ramp and they were off!
Just as we went to back away, we got a steel cable wrapped around our prop and we were completely stuck, we couldn’t go anywhere. A little later one of my crew reported that there was a body up against the back of the boat, one of our chaps who had gone in earlier that day, we brought him in, poor chap.
Three of our crew decided that as we couldn’t go anywhere, they would have a little look on shore, just before dusk. They got a few hundred yards to a field and found hundreds of bodies laid out of those who had been killed, an awful sight. I went up afterwards to have a look, I remember feeling very sad, they must have been the men who had gone in at 7.30 that morning. We were all back on the landing craft by 11pm, the naval guns fired all night long, it was like hell let loose - there was no sleeping for anyone that night.