Michael Noble and Alexander Mostov
Wide Eyed Editions
This book commemorates the 75th anniversary since D-Day, exploring through 20 real-life stories, eye-witness accounts of the D-Day landings and through whose eyes young readers can re-live the events- stories of ‘bravery, sacrifice and innovation’ as the introduction says.
Through historian Michael Noble’s text, we follow the invasion from the planning of the landings, right through to its consequences, meeting both men and women who served in various ways.
There’s Lieutenant General Frederick Morgan who fought as a junior officer in WW1 and went on to be, in WW2, part of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force, one of the planners of the invasion of Europe under the joint responsibility of the British and the Americans, and in particular the Normandy landings.
Moreen James served in the WRNS as a plotter, keeping track from her Portsmouth subterranean base, of the movement of ships in the channel; a crucial task in enabling commanders to know the whereabouts of their boats and planes.
We meet the extraordinarily brave Sergeant Major Stanley Hollins, the only recipient of the Victoria Cross, considered the highest honour members of the British armed services can be awarded, for actions on D-Day.
Phyllis Allan served with the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service and was based in France where she tended the wounded soldiers, some of whom had suffered horrendous injuries. “It’s just a job, really’ she said.
American Richard Winters, aged 26 calls himself ‘ancient compared to some of my men’. A paratrooper, he took command of his unit when the original commander was killed in action. WW2 was the first major conflict to make use of paratroopers, a highly dangerous role with many losing their lives before hitting the ground.
Much less would have been known about the war without the journalists who reported on what was happening. One such was American, Ernie Pyle who not only wrote numerous articles, but also came to know many of the soldiers engaged in the fighting.
Through the use of collated photographs, personal accounts such as those mentioned, and testimonies from all sides, set into Alexander Mostov’s full-page illustrations that dramatise the roles of all individuals included herein, this is an enormously inspiring book.
Include it in KS2 class collections and on family bookshelves.