0737: Cruiser HMS Scylla off Sword beach

The cruiser HMS Scylla, pictured in 1942.

The cruiser HMS Scylla, pictured in 1942.

An account by William Goff who served in the wheelhouse of HMS Scylla through the D-Day period:

Quiet uneventful night until 0445 when we reached our objective, marked by a midget submarine and commenced bombarding the shore with the Warspite, Ramilles, Mauritius, Danae, Lord Roberts and dozens of Destroyers. The destroyers are steaming along nearer the beaches than we are ourselves. During all this the barges have been coming up to the beaches. L.C.G.’s – Landing Craft Guns carrying 4.7′s have been bombarding along with us. The noise down here in the Steering position sounds more to us like a stable full of restless horses.

The airforce did a fine job this morning at 0400. Apparently when we arrived at the beaches fires were burning fiercely ashore.

It is now 0730 and so far we have heard nothing from jerry except a report of E Boats on our port side at 0645. Perhaps it is due to our fighter umbrella which I believe are continuously up in strength of 9 squadrons and with Rocket Typhoons flying over should be a pretty formidable force to oppose jerry.

0737 – German Aircraft have just been reported over the beaches and the mist has just risen over Ouistrame, our bombardment target on the mouth of the River Orne. We are now going to breakfast or rather our breakfasts are coming to us since we are on action messing. Curse it.

This account original appeared on Goff World

A religious service held aboard HMS Scylla shortly after D-Day while she was still off the Normandy coast.

A religious service held aboard HMS Scylla shortly after D-Day while she was still off the Normandy coast.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Phil Gibbs June 14, 2018 at 7:31 am

My dad, Arthur Gibbs, was a Leading Telegraphist on Scylla during D-Day. He didn’t talk much about the event, only saying that it was a very busy two weeks!
Later, on June 23, when Scylla hit a mine, it was dad’s 24th birthday. His shipmates never let him forget that one…

Editor May 29, 2018 at 7:04 pm

Both the King and Churchill wanted to be on ships to view the D-Day invasion. In the event neither were allowed to go, in view of the risk. They went across (separately) for day trips in the next couple of weeks, even though the front line in Normandy was only a matter of miles from the coast and still within range of our ships. Mountbatten was Allied Commander in the Far East by the time of D-Day. So I think the photograph must be from earlier in the war.

Trevor Smallbone May 29, 2018 at 6:03 pm

Hi, My Father Douglas Smallbone was an engineer on HMS Scylla and served during D-Day. I recently came in possession of a picture that was given to my Father at the time of Winston Churchill (PM) and Admiral Mountbatten on the Scylla, and I heard from family that Churchill was on the Scylla to view D-Day (though will appreciate confirmation).

Steve Tugwell January 23, 2016 at 10:26 pm

Hi, my dad, Albert or Tug, was a pom pom gunner and told me he was on the Scylla for at least 1 arctic convoy and during the Normandy landings. He said that he was almost charged as he didn’t shut down his gun after the mining and was the first to notice the power came back on, which he shouldn’t have noticed if he’d shut down.

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Earlier in the war:

Later in the war: