Interview with airborne signaller Harry Read.
Interview of airborne signaller Harry Read conducted the Second World War Experience Centre.
The 6th Airborne Division was formed on 23rd April 1943. It took part in the invasion of Normandy on 6th June 1944 remaining in the line until the break out to the Seine in August. It reformed in the UK and was employed in the Ardennes during the 1944-5 winter German counter-offensive. In March 1945 the Division was involved with the Rhine Crossing and subsequent advance to the Baltic at the wars end.
In 1945 the Division was despatched to Palestine on internal security duties until the end of the British Mandate in 1948. In April of that year the Division returned to the UK and was disbanded.
Order of Battle:
See also: HQ 6th Airborne DivisionRead More
Interview of airborne signaller Harry Read conducted the Second World War Experience Centre.
Arab intransigence over the surge of Jewish immigration that followed the Holocaust in Europe led to the forming of extreme dissident Zionist groups such as IZL (Irgun Zwai Leumi) and the Stern Gang, all seeking to promote their aims through violence.
The airborne soldiers were well suited to exploit the fluid situation that occurred following the collapse of the Rhine barrier defence. Short fierce actions were fought from the tanks of the 4th Tank Battalion of the Grenadier Guards and whatever transport could be purloined.
The 6th Airborne Division was tasked to seize the high ground of the Diersfort Wood, overlooking part of the Rhine to be crossed by the British 21st Army Group.
After the Allied landings in Normandy and subsequent advance through France and Belgium, the German Army had succeeded in stalling the Allied offensive along their line of defence at the German border - the ‘Siegfried Line’.
The 6th Airborne Division had been formed in May 1943 for the Invasion. It was called the ‘6th’ to fool the Germans into believing there were five other airborne divisions already in existence, but in reality there was only the 1st in addition.
6th Airborne Division dropping on Salisbury Plain in preparation for D-Day.
Covered by bren gunner and rifleman, recce patrol move towards new position. Jan 1945.
Members of 5th Parachute Brigade walk and cycle to Brelingen.
Gliders of 6th Airlanding Brigade on landing zone near Hamminkeln Station, March 1945.
RAF Stirlings towing Horsa gliders across the Rhine.
Four men from 8th Parachute Battalion wash and relax in a camp outside Haifa, 1946/47.
General Gale's Horsa glider in Normandy at landing zone W.
Anti-glider posts in Caen.
Operation Rob Roy, the re-supply operation on 7th June on drop zone N.
Group photo of those who won medals at Normandy with Montgomery. 1/9/1944.
Airborne soldiers on and around a military vehicle near drop zone N.
Airborne troops talk to French civilians between Ranville and Amfreville.
Airborne troops help put out a tank fire.
British troops engaged with enemy troops in fight for Caen bridges.
Four paratroopers stand with a burned out Hotchkiss tank chassis.
Gliders cross the Channel above ships of the Royal Navy.
Members of 6th Airborne Division outside Breville church.
Gale addresses men of 6th Airborne Division.
Airborne soldiers load a Horsa glider.
Airborne troops load bikes into a glider for Normandy landing.
Photos shows Pegasus Bridge, German anti-tank gun and Gondree cafe.
Group photo of HQ 6 Airborne Division Royal Engineers prior to Normandy.
British troops move north from Echt and a crocodile flame-thrower in action.
Field Marshal Montgomery visits 6th Airborne Division in the Ardennes.
Recce patrol of B Coy, 9th Parachute Battalion near Marche-en- Famenne, 1945.
A patrol comes under enemy mortar fire.
Members of 6th Airborne Division don white camo suits before patrolling.
Lance Corporal Newton searching for enemy mines in the snow.
Only survivor of the Bande atrocity talks to Sgt Lawrie of 6th AB Division.
British Paras lift coffins of civilians executed in the Bande atrocity.
Final check of maps before assault across the Rhine.
Montgomery and his Russian counterpart Rokossovsky in Wismar, May 1945.
A Horsa glider is unloaded on the landing zone of the Rhine Crossing operation.
Halifaxes tow Horsa gliders over the French coast.
British Airborne troops with a Russian telegraphist near Wismar.
Gliders on the ground after airborne landing in the area of Hamminkeln.
Large scale Rhine reheasal. Dakotas fly over drop zone dropping troops and supplies.
Glider pilots with German prisoners near Hamminkeln railway station, March 1945.
A British para takes the details of one of the first Germans taken prisoner in the Rhine operations.
Group photo of J section Signals, 3rd Parachute Brigade in Wismar May 1945.
Royal Ulster Rifles (6th Airborne) on the banks of the river Issel.
Two British airborne men by the sign for Hamminkeln the day they took the town.
Soldier receiving treatment in an airborne dressing station. March 25th, 1945.
German POW receives treatment at an airborne dressing station in a German village.
A British paratrooper looks out of the window as his Dakota approaches Germany.
Paratrooper looks contemplative in a Dakota aircraft en route to the Rhine.
Group photo of Montgomery, Maj-Gen Bols and members of the division. January1945.
Montgomery talks to Maj-Gen Bols, Brig Flavell, Brig Hill and Brig Poett. January 1945.
Radio operators at 6th Airborne Divisional headquarters.
Paratroopers inch along flat ground toward their objective.
Troops go into action after their gliders have landed during operation in the Rhine.
A burned-out Horsa glider near Hamminkeln during the Rhine crossing.
Under a parachute draped over telephone wires, a paratrooper carries a wounded man to aid.
Inside of camouflaged chemical factory near Melbeck, Germany. April 1945.
Paratroopers commandeer civilian transport for push from Rhine.
Airborne signaller at his post under a camouflaged parachute.
Airborne troops prepare to make a dash into the burning village of Hamminkeln. March 1945.
Brigadier James Hill, commander of 3rd Parachute Brigade during the Rhine Crossing.
Hamminkeln railway station on D-day plus one. March 25th 1945.
5th Parachute Brigade listen to Field Marshal Montgomery at HQ near Osnabruck, 1945.
Gliders try to land through smoke of a German barn while under enemy fire.
Blown up oil tanks north of Haifa 1947.
Glider lands at airstrip near Tel Aviv, 1946.
Member of 3rd Parachute Battalion takes illegal immigrant back on board ship at Haifa docks, 1947.
View of Haifa taken from 6th Airborne Division Signals HQ.
Pestell's wings presentation at Ramat David parachute school, Palestine 1947.
Two paratroopers on security operations in Palestine.
Air car contact unit in Palestine, 1947.
Three members of B Coy, 3rd Parachute Battalion with Halifax. Palestine, 1946.
Members of B Coy, 3rd Parachute Battalion. Sarafand, Palestine, November 1945.
Airborne soldiers help get immigrants ashore from illegal ship.
Immigrant ship with plea from Jews to remain in Palestine.
Paratrooper faces camera with barbed wire and civilians in the background. Palestine 1948.
Armoured cars of 6th AB Div await orders to begin patrols in Tel Aviv.
Attempt to blow Lake Huleh/Lake Tiberius bridge, Palestine.
Remains of car that blew up as police car was passing.
Airborne soldiers take a rest while driving in Palestine.
Group photo of men from 6th Airborne Division in Palestine.
Maj-Gen Bols, Officer Commanding 6th Airborne Division with staff in Palestine.
Four members of S Company, 3rd Parachute Battalion have a moment's rest in Haifa, 1947.
Sgt Bill Williams from 3rd Parachute Battalion at a road block north of Haifa.
Captain Bill Wilson, adjutant 3rd Parachute Battalion on refresher course Aquin, 1947.
A corporal brings a German light machine gun from the inside of a chicken hut, Palestine 1947.
General Crocker talks to airborne soldiers in Palestine.
General Crocker talks to a Paratrooper in Palestine.
Paratroopers guard a huge arms cache found in a school basement in Tel Aviv.
One paratrooper and two RAMC soldiers pose for the camera in Palestine, 1946.
Two paratroopers remove a box of mortar bombs from a huge arms cache found in Tel Aviv.
Five paratroopers have a tea break on a cobbled street in Palestine.
Three men of 3rd Parachute Battalion on King's Way, Haifa.
Airborne soldiers raise their drinks to the camera on Christmas Day in Palestine, 1946.
Four airborne soldiers enjoy a drink in the platoon canteen. Palestine 1946.
Nine members of 8th Parachute Battalion get ready for cufew patrol in a camp outside Haifa. 1946/47.
Officers and men on a battalion training exercise in Palestine.
Men being briefed for an exercise in Palestine, 1947.
Soldier of 33rd Airborne Light Regiment, RA. Palestine, 1946.
Airborne soldier reads IZL pamphlet found in waste ground in Haifa, 1948.
Halifax aircraft turns to the DZ over Palestine, 1946.
Shot of paratroopers just before emplaning at RAF Aqir, Palestine 1946.
Shot of 1st Parachute Brigade Signallers before emplaning at RAF Aqir, 1946.
GOC 6th Airborne Division ground training in Palestine.
Soldier practises simulated parachute landing at Ramat David parachute school, Palestine 1947.
Parachute Course - RAF Aqir
Equipment for PPN1-1A Eureka Beacon
Pte Kimber outside Lathburys caravan, circa 1946
General Montgomery talks to Gen Gale and Brigadier Poett, 1944.
Captains John Woodgate and Alec Rossiter Bulford c1944
Captain John H Max GSO 3 6th Airborne Division 1944
Sea-borne Universal Carrier passes a crash landed glider, June 1944.
Airlanding troops of 6th Airborne Division in good spirits onboard a Horsa prior to D-Day, June 1944
Paratroopers of 6th Airborne Division check each others jumping gear prior D-Day, June 1944
Members of 1st Bn Royal Ulster Rifles leaving LZ-N, June 1944
Five airborne soldiers stand beside humorous graffiti in Normandy, 1944.
Members of 6th Airborne Division take the German surrender at Wismar, 1945
9th Parachute Battalion file past carrying equipment, Germany, March 1945
Group portrait of men who survived Arnhem on Arnhem Day, Palestine, September 1946
Exercise YEO - RAF Aqir and Yibneh DZ, 1946
6th Airborne Division Live Firing Camp, Autumn 1946
Troops ground training at Ramat David parachute school, Palestine 1947.
Ground instruction, RAF Aqir, 1947
Parachute course - RAF Aqir, 1947.
Operation BOBCAT, Haifa 1947.
Gun crew of 75mm Howitzer undertake live firing practice, Acre, Palestine, Spring 1947.
Jeep and 75mm howitzer limbering up at end of shoot live firing practice shoot, Palestine, 1947
Children listen in on an RT of an Airborne gunner whilst on oil pipeline patrol, Palestine, Spring 1947
6th Airborne Division soldiers at rest nr Beisan, Palestine, 1946-7
A 6 Airborne Division Camp in Palestine,1947
Troopship used to transport soldiers to Port Said for Palestine, 1947.
6th Airborne Divisional Gunners on Kingsway during King's Birthday Parade, Haifa, Palestine, 1947
On foot patrol in Palestine, c1947-8.
Former members of 6 Airborne Division commemorate the loss of comrades on Neustadt bridge, March 1986
Stained glass window commemorating the 6th Airborne Division in Ranville Church, Normandy, France, 2014.
Grave of Capt John M Newton, Ramleh War Cemetery, Israel, 2015.
Grave of Gnr Cyril R Pearson, Ramleh War Cemetery, Israel, 2015.
Grave of Gnr Kenneth W Baker, Ramleh War Cemetery, Israel, 2015.
Group photo of HQ 3rd Parachute Brigade in Nazareth, 1947.
HQ 3rd Parachute Brigade, Nazareth, Palestine.
Group photo of 3rd Parachute Battalion outside billets in Palestine.
Group photo of HQ Company, 1st Royal Ulster Rifles, 1944
Group shot of B Company, 8th Parachute Battalion outside billets in Palestine.
Group shot of 10 Platoon, T Company, 1st Parachute Battalion in Palestine 1945.
Monty with Commanders from 6th Airborne Division
Members of a Royal Artillery unit of 6th Airborne Division, Palestine
74 Field Hygiene Section, RAMC, 6 AB Div, Palestine, February 1946.
Officers of the 6th Airborne Divisional Signals Bulford 9 September 1943
Intelligence Officers of 6th Airborne Division 1944
Capt Vere Hodge's F.O.B. (Forward Observation Bombardment) Team, June 1944.
General Bernard Montgomery and others in a quarry at Ercarde in Normandy, 16 July 1944.
Senior officers of 6th Airborne Division with Field Marshal Montgomery, Ardennes, January 1945.
Group photograph of officers decorated by Field Marshal Montgomery, Lüneburg Heath Germany, 1945.
Group photo of men from HQ 1st Parachute Brigade on Arnhem Day, Palestine, 1946
Map of 6th Airborne Division Plan in Caen
Map of Palestine (1: 250,000)
Map of Convoy Routes in Palestine (Ratio 1: 500,000)
Map of 6th Airborne Division on D-Day.
Map showing HQ 3 Parachute Brigade and 8th Parachute Battalion.
Map showing 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion.
Map showing general area of operations from June 5th-August 16th 1944.
Map showing positions of 12th Parachute Battalion in Normandy.
Map showing 6th Airborne Divisions route from the Rhine to the Baltic.
Guide map of Jerusalem.
Map showing positions of 9th Parachute Battalion in Normandy.
Photo of D-Day training map titled 'Oslo', 1944
Map of Neustadt and Wunstorf area
Many parachutes and a a Horsa glider landing north-east of Caen.
Gliders on landing zone near Ranville.
Aerial photo showing Ranville and landing zone N.
Secret D-Day briefing photo for RAF aircrews for Ops Tonga and Mallard.
Ariel view of parachutes on drop zone at dawn on D-Day.
Aerial view of drop zone N covered with gliders.
Aerial photo showing gliders on landing zone N.
Aerial photo showing assault party gliders.
Aerial view of Ardennes battle sector.
Aerial photo showing aircraft dropping parachutes carrying containers before men drop.
Aerial photos showing Dakota with right engine on fire.
Aerial photo of Rhine battle area taken on April 18th, 1945.
Aerial photo of Issel Bridge, objective of 6 Airlanding Brigade in Rhine Crossing.
Gliders on the ground after the British airborne landing in Rhine battle area.
Gliders on the ground after the British airborne landing in the Rhine battle area.
Aerial photo of the River Rhine and surrounding land.
Message reminding military staff not to discuss operations with outsiders.
Message about absentees and deserters.
Note on treatment of deserters and prisoners of war.
Message about use of pigeons in Operation Overlord.
Note on supply of wireless equipment.
Instructions about the holding of rum by units.
Special instructions for Major J Drummond.
Special instructions for Major M Derrell-Brown.
Kindersley's rousing final instructions before Operation Overlord.
Facts about Palestine and map for British troops.
Message of congratulations from GOC to those involved in Op Shark, dated August 3rd 1946.
Letter from Maj-Gen Gale to Lt-Gen Browning about parachute training support troops.
Letter about supply of wireless equipment for Operation Overlord.
Letter about Overlord transport.
Letter about transport for Operation Overlord.
James Hill request boiled sweets for parachutists on operations.
Letter about whisky rations for troops.
Letter from Gale about state of ammunition for dropping on D-Day.
Letter about packing of 20mm Oerlikon ammunition.
Letter to Richard Gale about packing and dropping of ammunition.
Letter to Charles Strafford, Editor of 'Pegasus Goes To It!' 6 February 1945
Letter from HQ 5 Para Brigade to Charles Strafford, Editor of 'Pegasus Goes To It!' 7 February 1945
Open invitation to 6th Airborne Division veterans for the 70th Anniversary of the Normandy Landings
Points raised at Overlord planning meeting including battle dress and leave.
Minutes of conference planning Operation Overlord.
Gale's take on conduct of battle including tactics, care of men and equipment.
6th Airborne Division admin plan for Operation Overlord, part 1.
6th Airborne Division admin plan for Operation Overlord, part 2.
Notes on intelligence routine in 6 Airborne Division.
Information about security precautions when units return from theatre of war.
Memorandum on handling of captured enemy documents.
Signal appreciation, Operation Overlord.
Operation instruction about chemical warfare in Operation Overlord.
Appreciation of the situation by Brigadier Kindersley.
Instructions issued to 3 Parachute Brigade commander from Maj-Gen Gale.
Appreciation of an attack on a Battery.
Appreciation of situation and 3 Parachute Bde operation orders by James Hill.
6th Airborne Division Operation Order for Rhine Crossing.
6th Airborne Division intelligence summary for Operation Varsity.
Curfew order for operations in Palestine.
Notes on British addressing Germans and Poles with propaganda.
Defiant leaflet from a Jew of Tel-Aviv to men of 6th Airborne Division.
IZL leaflet from Tel-Aviv. December 1946.
Propaganda leaflet from Jews in Palestine to British troops.
Text of German and Polish propaganda addresses.
Enemy reaction to airborne operation with Gale's handwritten note.
Notes on the use of corner cube reflectors.
Role of conscientious objectors with the RAMC in the assault on Normandy.
Synopsis of Operation Eclipse by Major Tony Hibbert.
List of rations for consumption in first 48 hours of Op Overlord.
Document outlining landing rations.
List of rations for Operation Overlord.
Details of Operation 24 Hour Ration.
Document about NAAFI supplies of boiled sweets and whisky or gin.
NAAFI confectionary order form.
Breakdown of ammunition by air for D-Day.
Holdings by unit of explosives and accessories.
Second line scales of ammo for one airborne division.
List of supplies required for airborne troops.
List of requirements for SAS troops.
Report on operations of 6 Airborne Division on D-Day and day after.
6th Airborne Division Report on Operation Overlord, part 1.
6th Airborne Division Report on Operation Overlord, part 2.
Record of 224 Parachute Field Ambulance, 5-14 June 1944.
3rd Parachute Brigade's story and personal experience of D-Day.
Report on Operation Tonga.
Main ops from Tarrant Rushton airfield in 1944/1945.
Report on 6 AB Div engineers on D-Day.
Narrative of Operation Varsity.
5 Parachute Brigade Operations during Rhine Crossing.
Post operation report on Operation Shark, part of operations in Palestine.
Preliminary report on Operation Shark, part of operations in Palestine.
Report on arms caches found at Mesheq Yagur colony including diagrams.
Report on Operation Agatha in Palestine, June 29th-July 1st 1946.
Report on successful German firing methods in battle.
War diary for 6 AB Division medics on D-Day and aftermath.
Diary of events on operations in Palestine from May 1st-July 1st 1948.
Mortar platoon diary for Operation Shark, commencing July 30th 1946.
Information on British troops remaining in Palestine after Mandate terminates.
Copy of 12 (Yorkshire) Para Bn Operation Order Normandy June 1944
6 Airborne Division Special Order of the Day, signed by members of Lt Bob Midwood's stick, 4 June 1944.
Certificate for qualifying as parachutist, Palestine1947.
6th Airborne Anniversary Service programme, Salisbury Cathedral, c1944.
5 Parachute Brigade HQ Orders. June 1944.
Special Order Notice from Maj Gen Richard Gale, 11 June 1944.
Pegasus Goes To It! No 68, 29 August 1944.
Pegasus Goes To It! No 136, 14 April 1945.
Message of thanks from Maj Gen Cassels to all involved in search of Tel Aviv, August 1946.
6th Airborne Division parachute qualification certificate Aqir Palestine 1947
Obituary for Gen Sir Richard Gale 'Airborne Soldier' by Brig James Hill, 1982
Merville Battery Commemorative Cover signed by Lt Col Otway
Overlord Commemorative Cover
Operation Varsity Commemorative Cover signed by Lt Col Eadie
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