6 June 1944, now commonly referred to as ‘D-Day’, was the day on which the Allied Forces commenced the Normandy Landings. The assault consisted of two phases: an airborne assault; and the amphibious landing of the Allied Forces on the Normandy coast; and led to the Allied Forces’ ultimate victory.
While the actions of the Army, Navy and Air Force in D-Day are well-documented, the role of the co-ordinating service, Combined Operations, is perhaps less well understood although it played an integral part in the success of D-Day.
Fiona Fitzsimons, Director of Research at Eneclann, has researched the career of Irishman, Commander Rickard Charlie Donovan, RN, CBE (1898-1952), using letters, papers and photographs that his family kept stored in the attic at their family home in Wexford, as well as his service records held in the U.K. National Archives. Although Ireland remained neutral during WWII, Rickard Donovan’s career brought him into the centre of strategic and tactical planning, in particular Operation Overlord.