Operation TONGA. Short Stirling Mark IVs of Nos. 196 and 299 Squadrons RAF, lining the runway at Keevil, Wiltshire, on the evening of 5 June, before emplaning paratroops of the 5th Parachute Brigade Group for the invasion of Normandy.

When the dispatcher (RAF) bawled ‘Red On’ followed by ‘Green On’, then ‘Go, go, go,’ we went through the aperture as fast as possible. We were going in about 500ft, and it was essential to have a fast dispatch to ensure that we would be closer together on the ground.
It was a moonlit night with some light cloud. I had quite a good descent, landing a bit heavily but safely in a corn field with stalks up to my waist. There was a real danger for us at this point of being shot at by one of our mates, so a simple code system had been devised, the first day being ‘Ham’ to be answered by ‘Egg’, the next day ‘Bread’ and ‘Butter’.

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