Anthony Cotterell’s diary entry for 5 June 1944 has been added to the end of the previous post, so all can be read consecutively. It really conveys the intense excitement of the men waiting for something to happen. Even at this late stage it looked as if the weather might call the whole thing off. Then suddenly everything was GO. Here is an extract (or read the full entry):
About 3.30 p.m. the Principal Beach Master, a pale-faced, bemedalled young Lieutenant-Commander, arrived in a lifeboat, together with an Engineer Commander.
Apparently the small stuff has started already, and this is inextricably D minus 1.
At 3.45 p.m. there was a bit of a rumble. ‘Those are the engines, I believe,’ said the Lieutenant-Commander.
While sitting in the canteen two messages were broadcast, one to the Navy, one to the Marines, wishing them good luck in their respective jobs and enlarging slightly on the eve of great events theme. People listened dutifully, but were not, on the face of it, particularly injected with any extra resolve. ‘Same old bullshit,’ they said, though not in any particular spirit of complaint. Tolerant smiles were more the note.
These messages helped to underline the nearness. Singing started down in the troop decks. Very feeble jokes began to seem funny.
We sailed about 7 p.m.