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Royal Air Force Beach Units

Glen McBride's Memoirs

D-Day on Queen’s Beach Red
An Australian's War from the Burma Road Retreat to the Normandy Beaches
by Glen McBride, Prof. G McBride Jr., 1994

 

This unassuming volume is the remarkable story of Australian Glen McBride’s experiences in the R.A.F. in World War Two, written in his own words and published by his son (also named Glen).

Commissioned in the R.A.F. at the age of 40, he sailed from Australia to Singapore in 1941 to begin his service. Bold, resourceful and energetic he was determined to be where the action was. After hard work as officer in charge of building a flying boat base at Addu Atoll in the Maldives he volunteered to be an airfield Defence Officer at Lashio in Burma. Arriving as the Japanese were advancing, he had to destroy petrol dumps and join the retreat up the Burma Road into China.

In China he commanded an R.A.F. detachment ready to work with the Chinese military who frustratingly, were not interested in collaboration with their allies. Following withdrawal from China by air to India, Glen McBride became involved in training for amphibious assault landings. Disappointed at being withdrawn from Combined Operations and not relishing the prospect of serving as an R.A.F. Regiment officer, Glen managed to get himself posted to the UK, arriving in December 1943.

After time with R.A.F. Embarkation Units in Liverpool and then very briefly, in Southampton, he joined an R.A.F. beach unit for Combined Operations training in Scotland in preparation for the Normandy invasion. He landed on Queen beach, Red sector with his unit, 101 Beach Flight of No. 1 R.A.F. Beach Squadron, early on D-Day 6th June 1944. The unit worked in the SWORD assault area under dangerous conditions until the end of August 1944 and then returned to the UK. This was the end of Glen’s active service with the R.A.F. and eventually he returned to Australia via the USA. Glen McBride was Mentioned in Despatches for his service in Normandy.

Glen wrote his account of these experiences soon after his return to Australia and then put it aside. It was eventually published to coincide with the 50th anniversary of D-Day in 1994. It is a unique and fascinating personal story that has not been widely distributed.

A few copies of this interesting and rare book are available for purchase via this website. Please click here for details.

 

Copyright  © J.M.Fenton, 2007-2016

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