Australian Naval History on 6 June 1944
- On This Day - 1944
- None noted.
The D-Day landings took place on the beaches at Normandy, which signalled the beginning of the Allied assault on occupied France, and which would lead to the final defeat of Germany some 11 months later. It is estimated that about 500 RAN personnel, (on loan to the RN), took part in the operations. Several of these were RANVR officers who commanded landing craft, including SBLT B.V. Ashton, and SBLT Richard Pirrie, who were both killed in action when their landing craft were hit by enemy fire. Ashton is buried in Bayeux War Cemetery. However the body of SBLT Pirrie was never recovered. These were the only members of the RAN killed on 6 June 1944. Others involved in the invasion included LEUT Dacre Smyth, RAN, (later to reach the rank of CDRE), who was the gunnery officer in a British destroyer, and LEUT K.R. Hudspeth, RANVR, who commanded the midget submarine X-20. Hudspeth was awarded the DSC for his part in the landing in X-20, which operated on the surface, and acted as a beacon for the landing craft to enable them to navigate safely to the beaches.
The Fremantle based USS HARDER, (submarine), torpedoed the Japanese ships MINANSUKI and HAYANAMI, (destroyers), in the Sibutu Passage off Tarakan.
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