In honour of the 75th anniversary of the legendary D-Day invasion, HISTORY features powerful interviews with several surviving veterans who experienced the historic invasion first hand in D-Day in 14 Stories. The 90-minute documentary takes viewers through a variety of raw and personal experiences endured on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944. Seldom heard perspectives from both Allied and German soldiers, a female Resistance fighter, amongst others, are presented in the captivating special.
D-Day in 14 Stories interweaves first-person accounts from an unprecedented spectrum of Canadians, Americans, British, French, and Germans. Re-found footage, dramatic reconstructions, and cutting-edge VFX plunge viewers into the heat of invasion, then draws them into the most intimate moments. From terror to triumph, D-Day in 14 Stories brings the day to life like never before.
Royal Canadian Navy Petty Officer, Photographic Unit
Privy to the ‘secret meeting’ held prior to the invasion. Beddoe filmed the assault by Canadian troops on Juno Beach. He also witnessed the large armada approaching Juno Beach and the waves of Canadian troops who landed. Beddoe then moved to the American beach at Omaha. His landing craft hit a mine and he was thrown into the air and somehow remained unhurt. He soon came ashore and quickly moved inland to film the advance.
Rifleman with B-company, Queen’s Own Rifles
First wave on Juno beach. His landing craft hit a mine, several in front of the boat died. Alex Adair shares captivating action combat stories and emotional stories of friends who were killed on the Beach. Adair remembers welcoming French civilians
Rifleman in mortar platoon with the Royal Winnipeg Rifles
First wave on Juno beach. His landing craft was hit by MG fire and then struck a mine. He had to drop all his equipment in order to swim ashore. When he reached the beach, he grabbed a weapon and gear from a dying soldier while under constant enemy fire. While on the beach, he ran into his brother, Jack. Jim park expresses that he remembers some gruesome and sad moments of wounded soldiers dying.
Bombardier, 14th Canadian Field Artillery
First wave on Juno beach after playing poker until dawn on June 6th, his landing craft hit a mine. He was in a Sherman tank – looking out the turret. Once he got off the beach, a local French boy guided their tank (and their artillery) past a mined field which saved their lives.
Charles Norman Shay
Combat medic in F-company for the 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division
Shay was in the first wave on Omaha. He bravely saved many men from drowning. Charles Norman Shay remembers the sights and sounds of the battle. He was awarded the Silver Star for his bravery that day.
Jim “Pee Wee” Martin
G company, 3rd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division
Jim “Pee Wee” Martin parachuted in on D-Day. He was a Paratrooper in a very active area behind Utah Beach.
Technician with Headquarters Company, 2nd battalion, 115th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division
Morton tried to radio French Resistance but was unable to. He fought at St. Lo and was present for the Liberation of Paris.
Cpl. 320th US Barrage Balloon Battalion, the only all-black unit in the American D-Day landings
Dabney’s first combat assignment was to attach barrage balloons – a 35-pound hydrogen filled balloon with an attached bomb – to a rope around his waist. These balloons were sent 3,000 feet overhead in hopes of exploding after being caught by the wings or propellers of German airplanes.
7th Battalion, The Green Howards
Jack Quinn planted explosives on German underwater obstacles prior to the invasion.
Six years-old on D-Day, he lived in Luc-sur-Mer with his mother. He remembers the British soldiers arriving on the beach and entering his village. Bernard Marie shares memories of his family crying with joy at the arrival of liberating troops.
French Resistance fighter in Brittany
She and her father (Louis) worked with local Resistance members to prepare the arrival of Allied paratroopers.
Member of the Hitler Youth
At 19, Bissoir’s regiment was based at Acquigny in France. Assigned to reconnaissance, he’d been trained to drive a BMW motorcycle and set up signs to help guide the tanks. In April 1945, Bissoir was captured by the Americans and was sent with other prisoners of war to an open cage in Rheinberg.
Private, machine gun team, Grenadier Regiment 1057 of the 91st Air Infantry Division
Paul Gloz was in the region around Sainte-Mere-Eglise on June 6, 1944 when town was attacked by US paratroopers. Golz was involved in tackling paratrooper activity behind Utah Beach where American Jim “Pee Wee” Martin was active.
Additional D-Day programming on Thursday, June 6 includes:
War Story, Falaise – Corridor of Death airs at 3 p.m. ET/PT (1×30)
Black Watch Snipers airs at 3:30 p.m. ET/PT (1×90)
War Junk: Juno Beach airs at 5 p.m. ET/PT (1×60)
War Story, D-Day + One airs at 6 p.m. ET/PT (1×30)
D-Day: The Untold Stories airs at 8 p.m. ET/PT (1×120)
For the full schedule of HISTORY programming visit history.ca