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Royal Air Force Beach Units


The books listed here may be of interest to visitors:

First Tide, by Alan Melville, Skeffington & Son, 1945
Alan Melville, commissioned as an officer in Air Ministry Public Relations, was the official Air Information radio correspondent for the Normandy invasion and was attached to No 1 R.A.F. Beach Squadron for the landing. ‘First Tide’ was published in 1945 and has not been re-printed. Among his well-written personal observations on various aspects of the Normandy campaign, he describes the role of the R.A.F. beach squadrons and includes interesting detail about No 1 R.A.F. Beach Squadron.

D-DAY on Queen's Beach Red:
An Australian's War from the Burma Road Retreat to the Normandy Beaches
by Glen McBride, Prof. G McBride Jr., 1994

Click here for information about this book.

Victory in the West: Volume I: The Battle of Normandy
by Major L. F. Ellis - various editions published.
Part of an 18 volume official British History of the Second World War, this book contains detail about beach organisation you don’t see in other books - including mention of R.A.F. Beach Squadrons!

A History of the R.A.F. Servicing Commandos
by JP Kellett & J Davies, Airlife, 1989.

Excellent history of the Servicing Commandos, whose efforts the Beach Units supported. It provides another perspective on operations in which the Beach Units were involved. Although mentioning the RAF element in Beach Bricks in the first chapter the authors show a lack of awareness about the RAF beach units later on. In the chapter on Operation Overlord they include a photograph of personnel of No. 4 Beach Squadron which they mistakenly captioned, “Normandy landings - Servicing Commandos line up for a meal”.  This is a minor criticism of a book that I would recommend.

Spectacles, Testicles, Fags and Matches:
The Untold Story of R.A.F. Servicing Commandos in World War Two
by Tom Atkinson, Luath Press Ltd, 2004

This is a compilation of personal recollections of Servicing Commando veterans with a bit of background information to set them in context. These are anecdotal and often raw accounts of servicemen’s experiences rather than a history compiled from official records..

INVASION! The D-Day story, written and compiled for the Daily Express by John St. John Cooper, Beaverbrook Newspapers Limited, 1954
Published for the 10th anniversary of the Normandy landings. Crammed with pictures and accompanied by dramatic but informative text. It gives ample credit to the Beach Groups and features a section entitled ‘Front Line Airstrip’ that includes a photo of No. 4 R.A.F.Beach Squadron’s first pay parade in France - using a German beetle tank as a desk!

Nobody’s Hero, by Bernard Hart-Hallam, Woodfield Publishing, 1999
This is the author’s account of his experiences as an R.A.F. policeman in World War Two. For the invasion of N.W. Europe he was the leader of No. 6 R.A.F. Security Section, 83 Group, 2nd T.A.F. Hart-Hallam asserts that having landed at around 9am, he was the first R.A.F. man to land on JUNO beach. Although he does not say so, his Security Section may initially have been attached to No. 2 R.A.F. Beach Squadron. An entry in the Operations Record Book of 2 Beach Squadron dated 24th April 1944 states, “1 Sergeant and 6 Corporals Provost attached from H.Q. 2nd Tactical Air Force, for operational duties in the R.A.F. Assembly Area.”

Rise and Shine by Harry Allen,
printed by Rts (UK) Ltd, Kirkby, Merseyside, L33 8XF, 2003

A good little memoir by Harry Allen who as batman and driver in 18th Battalion Durham Light Infantry served in 35 Beach Brick and then 36 Beach Brick. (Nothing in about the R.A.F. though.)

Wheels of the R.A.F. by Bruce Robertson, Patrick Stephens, 1983
This is a history of R.A.F. Mechanical Transport, tracing the development of transport vehicles and specialist vehicles from the formation of the R.F.C. to the R.A.F. of the postwar period. The book includes some photos of radar and signals vehicles of 84 Group, 2nd T.A.F.


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