D-Day and Bryn Moore of Llangeinor

Thank you to Andrew Moore for writing this article.

Today is June 9th, which 80 years ago was D+3. My father, Bryn Moore of Llangeinor, (that’s him on the left in the picture – he was a corporal in the RAF) arrived at the Mulberry harbour at Arromanches, on Gold beach, 80 years ago today. The point at which ships unloaded was connected to the beach by about 500 metres or more of floating pontoons. Bryn’s job was to drive an RAF radio truck from the ship, along the pontoons, to the beach. My best guess is that it was a 3 ton Bedford or Commer, a bit like that in the picture, though it is difficult to know with any exactness.

But there were three problems.

The first was that the the lorry was packed in the centre of a shipful of 37 tonne Sherman tanks, though they may have been the British Firefly variant packing a 17 pounder gun, and with lots of additional equipment were way over 40 tons. Anyway. a lot heavier than a 3 ton lorry.

The second problem was that the floating pontoons reacted differently in their motion depending whether the vehicle was 3 tons or 40 tons, lurching up and down violently as the vehicles passed over.

The third, and possibly trickiest problem, was that the lorry was loaded the wrong way around, and there was no room to turn. This meant that the lorry had to be reversed over 500+ metres of floating pontoon lurching violently, with the knowledge that a bump from a tank could easily knock it into the drink.

Bryn described this as the most frightening experience of his life, and having been to Arromanches and seen how far out the Mulberries were, I can see why it was a frightening experience.

Later in the war, amongst other experiences, Bryn was found in a basement in Caen directing fighter bombers onto targets by someone else from the Garw (apparently). He was also at the liberation of Bergen-Belsen, and spent some time helping there. And became the only non-com in Germany (he claimed) who was permitted his own vehicle to play rugby for an RAF team. At the time he was driver to an Air Vice Marshal, and used the AVM’s car (and pennant) to go to rugby matches up to that time. He claimed to have had easy matches when he changed in the AVM’s car.

June 9th seemed a good time to remember these exploits.

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