Overlord D-Day
Leading aircraftsmen Harvey and Sexton with Flight Sergeant Gould carrying cans of petrol on a Normandy beach (RAF Benevolent Fund)

Hawker Typhoon pilots leave the briefing tent at Bazenville for a sortie over the Normandy battlefields (RAF Benevolent Fund)

Ground crew at Sainte-Croix-sur-Mer on June 10 refuel and re-arm one of the first Supermarine Spitfiresto land in France after the invasion. The airfield was barely two miles from the Gold landing beach (RAF Benevolent Fund)
Overlord Paratroops
Paratroops of the 5th Parachute Brigade wait at Keevil airfield, Wiltshire, before taking part in Operation Tonga, the opening phase of the invasion of Europe (RAF Benevolent Fund)

To mark the 80th anniversary of the Normandy landings on 6 June, Air Vice-Marshal Chris Elliot paid tribute to those who served in the Armed Forces in the lead up to, during and aftermath of D-Day.

The Air Vice-Marshal, Controller, RAF Benevolent Fund, said: “Allied landings were a turning point in world history. The RAF, along with their USAAF colleagues, had been preparing for the invasion for months, attacking German airfields, disrupting supply lines and their attacks on radar sites made large parts of the Channel ‘invisible’.

“As the invasion fleet sailed under the protective fighter aircraft umbrella, the first Allied troops to land on D-Day were being carried in gliders towed by RAF tug aircraft. Over 8,000 RAF personnel took part with more than 5,000 aircraft involved, including the many squadrons who protected the invasion fleet from German submarine attack.

“Following the end of the war, life was difficult for many, especially for those that were wounded and for the families of those who lost their lives. The RAF Benevolent Fund has provided support for thousands of Second World War RAF veterans and their families, from financial assistance to housing adaptations, including support to Aircraftswoman Rose Davies who was a radar operator supporting the landings.

“Rose, before her passing this year aged 107, received regular assistance from us which helped her live with dignity and financial security.

“From D-Day to today, the RAF Benevolent Fund provides life-changing support for those who serve, have served, and their families.  Last year, we supported over 42,000 veterans of all ages, families and those in uniform who keep us safe day after day. 

“We can only provide our life changing support with the help of our friends and partners, relying on vital donations from our supporters. Together we make a difference.“

For more information and to donate, visit rafbf.org/donate.