Normandy: The Sailors’ Story

A Naval History of D-Day and the Battle for France

Back in the April issue, we quoted a passage from The D-Day Atlas by Charles Messenger that read: “There have been literally millions of words written on D-Day and the subsequent campaign.” That much is certainly true, yet even after more than 80 years, authors are still finding new seams in the goldmine that is the history of the Normandy Campaign. Naval historian and former head of collections and research at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Nick Hewitt, has mined one such untapped vein. His new book focuses on the naval element of the campaign, which, to continue this somewhat clumsy analogy, the author himself describes the subject as “a golden thread”.

Indeed, given the scale of Operation Neptune – the naval element of Overlord – it does feel odd to say that the D-Day invasion’s 7,000 ships and 200,000 sailors have been ‘forgotten’, but it does appear to hold true, which makes this a welcome book. Handily, it is also extremely accessible, with Hewitt’s text being crisp, clear and pacey.

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