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A Navy Commanding Officer describes D-Day

Audio file

Jack Ingham, from Petone, was the commanding officer on a Royal Navy landing craft. Here he describes his journey across the English Channel on D-Day.


Well the wind was easing, the seas weren’t quite as bad, and about midnight came the drone overhead. Hundreds and hundreds of planes going across. This was the bombers first, they were going to do what damage they could on the beaches, and then the clouds parted every now and again, and you could see the shapes going over, hundreds and hundreds of planes. And then there was a lull, and then another batch of planes came across, and they made a different noise from the bombers, and these were the gliders and the parachutists, and when they were going we knew we were getting close to France by that time ... As dawn was breaking, and each second that it got lighter there’d be more ships you could see further out, just an amazing sight. Ships of all shapes and sizes and very comforting to see the big battleships there. Yes.

So the sea was really thick with them?

It was thick with them.

Jack Ingham

Jack Ingham

Jack Ingham during the Second World War and in 2004


Jack Ingham interviewed by Alison Parr, 13 October 2004. Ministry for Culture and Heritage D-Day Oral History Project.

Images from Jack Ingham collection.

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A Navy Commanding Officer describes D-Day, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated