Memories of D-Day: Utah Beach

US troops on Utah Beach, 10 June 1944 (US Navy)

US troops on Utah Beach, 10 June 1944 (US Navy)

Utah was the western-most beach, and the US 4th Infantry Division and supporting units landed here on D-Day. After establishing a beachhead, these troops aimed to capture the Cotentin Peninsula and the port of Cherbourg. The US 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions were landed inland to open the way for the US advance.

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Mr Michael Jennings landed troops on Utah Beach on D-Day:
“ I was aged eighteen and a half then, and a Royal Navy seaman/wireman on LCT 795. We sailed from Dartmouth with US Army personnel and vehicles, but due to bad weather had to put into Portland. We set off again later and I remember that the majority of the troops were seasick and our messdeck was strewn with troops trying to sleep. We arrived at our rendezvous off Utah Beach. When our turn came to go in, it felt like all the practice runs we had been through. We should have unloaded and backed off the beach, but due to the flatness the tide ran out leaving us high and dry. With all the troops ashore, the skipper opened up the rum and I, although being under age, had along with the others a large neat tot. This seemed to make the day much more pleasant until there was a loud bang close by and something whizzed past our heads. Four shrapnel holes had been made in the winch housing forward, and suddenly the effect of the rum wore off. We decided that it would be safer ashore, so we left the craft and ran, dropping whenever a shell burst. We jumped into a trench with an American soldier chewing gum, who asked us if we were commandos. Our reply was that we were sailors waiting to get out as fast as we could!”
LCT = a “Landing Craft, Tank”, designed to carry a small number of tanks or other vehicles.
[Warren Tute Collection, D-Day Museum]

Photographs courtesy of the D-Day Museum, the Imperial War Museum, US Navy/US Coast Guard, and The News, Portsmouth. Images may not be copied without permission.