June 6th 1944

I am still transcribing my Great Great Aunt Kate’s diaries and, because today is a special day and one which she lived through, I dug out the 1944 diary to look at what she wrote.  I have only reached 1936 so I am jumping a few years on.


It’s another small diary – they all are tiny – and the writing is minute too but I mostly have my eye in by now and know her ways and shorthand.

It was also stuffed full of little bits of newspaper cuttings.

Anyway, I thought you might be interested in her entry for that week….

Some background: Kate is 65 years old.  Her sister, Alys (my great grandmother) is 60.  For the duration of the war, they have left the dangers of London to live at Layton Manor, Richmond, Yorkshire (left to Alys’ husband (my great grandfather), Dennis, a few years back).  Dennis is at Ashbridge Hospital, Berkhamsted working as a pathologist for the Army.  The sisters are looking after James, Alys’ grandson (my uncle).  My mother (Eve) is 4 years old and remains with her mother.

Allies enter Rome – June 4th, 5th
We land in France between Cherbourg and Le Havre

Airborne and seaborne. Fighting in Caen 6th

Tuesday 6th June 1944
Windy. Cool.
Baden said Invasion started. Heard at 10 o’clock. Eisenhower speech to Europeans and troops. Dutch and Belgian; Prime Ministers Auctioneer’s men taking furniture all day. Alys gave them sausages and mash. I got tea. We had oxtail, red currants and raspberries and custard. To Dimmock, Holt, Barnes, Gell, Dob, O’Brin. Cake and water. James with Alan. Wrote Ella. Listened to news. To garden, pigs and lettuces, sausages and bacon. I late so no bath. Brains Tr; Meynell. King spoke.

10th Fete 6th Auction men and 7th
5th James’ 7th birthday

6th INVASION started. Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force – “SHAEF”.
10th Rents
9th Miss Brown with posters.

And I found tucked into the diary this little folded slip of paper.

I am very humbled by this.  Somehow words don’t seem enough.


11 thoughts on “June 6th 1944

  1. barbara

    It certainly is very humbling. How grateful I am for their service and dedication. We owe them all so much.

  2. annie vanderven

    here i am an 82 year old french woman who is immensely grateful for the sacrifices of all these brave young men wh gave their lives so i could have one, may God bless them all

  3. Judy shank

    Agreed. The bravery of all who participated & those waiting & praying back home is mind boggling. It is so humbling imagining what the world went through, hoping but not knowing what the future might be.
    I think we need to remember the sacrifice of that generation & recommit to their wanting peace & prosperity for future generations.

    My aunt served as a nurse in the war. My father was just about everything in the small town he served: minister, fire fighter & fire marshall, interim college president, football coach, track & field coach, etc. My mother helped with victory gardens while raising my sisters. All of us are a part of the wonderful legacy all of our families have given us. They stepped up & into new roles without question. So very proud of them & owe all of them so much.

  4. Judith

    Thank you Frances, for putting this special entry from your Great-great-aunt Kate’s diary into your blog. And thanks be to God for the sacrifice of those thousands in 1944. I have been watching the commemoration today. It has been very moving. x

    (For those who haven’t looked at it there is a link at the top of this blog to “Aunt Kate’s Diary”.)

  5. darby callahan

    thank you for sharing. I will never forget my being at the American cemetery in Normandy nearly 6 years ago. one of the most moving moments of my life.

  6. Kris

    Thank you Frances for showing the connection we all too easily forget between “history” and the real people who experienced it. I often think of my parents who lived their young adult lives during the war. My father served 5 years active duty (ended up in the Philippines as the war ended) and my mother held down the homefront caring for my brother. We were so fortunate Dad came back to lead a successful life, one so many others never had a chance to pursue.
    We must never forget their sacrifice.

  7. May

    Thanks for that post, Frances. The sheer numbers for D-Day are overwhelming. Seeing one person’s reaction on that very day makes it feel more real.
    I hope that we all learn how precious peace is.


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