“I served in the RAF Codes & Ciphers Branch and was indoctrinated into the mysteries of Enigma and the One-Time Pad code. I was seconded to General Bradley’s US 12th Army Group HQ and landed in Normandy in 1944 for the advance on Paris and then onto Verdun and Luxembourg.
On March 7th 1945, there was great excitement in our operations vehicle. We learned that a railway bridge across the Rhine at Remagen was still intact – the charges had failed to explode. A US infantry battalion rushed across the bridge to the east bank.
General Hodges of the US 1st Army and General Pete Quesdata of the US 9th Tactical Air Force came to our operations truck, asking us to send an immediate signal to General Montgomery, as they wanted to push tanks and more men across the still standing bridge. I was on duty that night - it was around 7pm. Within the hour we had a signal back form Monty refusing permission. He said it would interfere with his plans to cross the Rhine. The American Generals’ language was salty – they were mad! They then asked us to contact Eisenhower back in Versailles. His reply was “go ahead”. About 9000 GIs went across to hold a bridgehead. Six days later the Germans shelled the bridge and put paid to any further movements.
One day when I was off duty, I went to the railway station, which had been badly bombed. Outside I found 12 German cars. I looked at what I thought was the best, tried to start it – no joy. So I got word back to the US motor pool and someone came out with a battery, fitted it and I drove away to the HQ.
My Normandy Story & Paris Welcome
A Meal of 5 Boiled Sweets: Dec 1944