Frank first started speaking with us in the early part of 2014. The 70th anniversary of D-Day was in view and he was keen to return to Normandy to be part of the commemoration and celebration. At this time Frank was 95, one of the oldest on our list of veterans. Clearly, it would be difficult for him to manage the trip on his own, without the support of others. Alongside that, he shared our opinion that his enjoyment would be much better amongst a large group of other Normandy Veterans - together again for this milestone anniversary. With each telephone call we got to know Frank a little better and in due course we were pleased to be able to confirm a place for Frank and his wife, Elizabeth.
The Millin-Montgomery Remembrance Voyage featured a tribute to the US Army losses suffered in Operation Tiger at Slapton Sands. We were aware that Frank was engaged in that training exercise and included his name in some of the published references. His service in the rocket version of Landing Craft Tanks – LCT (R), was unique in the group and provided some remarkable stories of his contribution to the D-Day Landings as well as later service at Walcheren.
The LCT(R) was an LCT modified to carry a large set of launchers for the British RP-3 "60 pounds" rockets mounted on the covered-over tank deck. The full set of launchers was in excess of 1000, with 5000 more kept below for re-loading. The firepower was formidable, claimed at the time to be equivalent to 80 light cruisers or 200 destroyers.
The method of operation was to anchor off the landing beach, aimed towards the shore. The distance to the shore was then measured by radar, with elevation of launchers set accordingly. The crew would move below for safety and the mass rocket launch was then set off electrically. The launch could comprise the entire set or individual ranks of rockets. A full reload was very labour intensive and sometimes it would be necessary to ‘borrow’ a working party from a nearby larger ship to assist in the process.
Here Frank tells his own wartime story. This is faithfully reproduced from his own writing:
Check back to read Frank's story in full soon!