Heard About D-Day

June 6th 1944

Art Schmitz learned of D-Day while stationed in Fowey, Cornwall. Art told me:

“I was on detached duty with the 818th Signal Port Service Battalion at Fowey, Cornwall, England, being heavily involved with operating a switchboard there. In contrast to the usual heavy volume of calls, I only had 2 calls the entire day of June 6th.

I didn’t need that to tell me the invasion of France was taking place. Fowey is located on an estuary of the English Channel, and prior to June 6th, one could hardly see the water because of the landing craft.

Reporting to duty that morning was the first time I could see the water between Fowey and Polruan on the other side.

The first news we had that D-Day was a fact was the noon arrival in town of American sailors, many with blood stained uniforms and pale faced with the shock of what they’d seen and experienced. 

Our hearts sank with the dire news that things weren’t going at all well on the beaches of Normandy.

Not until later that day did we learn, from news reports on the BBC, that we’d made landfall and broken through to establish an beachhead in France.  Our work was done, and not long after, I was transfered out of the 818th.”

Art then joined the 101st Airborne Division “Screaming Eagles” and fought at Bastogne.