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Alanson, Frank

Town : Newport
Regiment : Royal Navy, Seaman gunner
Landed in Normandy : Omaha Beach, June 6 1944
Frank Alanson, of Newport, trained as a seaman gunner in the Royal Navy and was drafted to D.E.M.S. (Defensively equipped merchant ships) Before sailing for Normandy his ship, the Danish vessel Fylla, was loaded with ammunition and a party of American soldiers came on board. lt would be their job to unload the ammunition into DUKW' s at the beachhead. Leaving Cardiff on the night of June 5th the ship was ordered to Omaha Beach-as it turned out the scene of some of the worst carnage of all the invasion beaches. "We watched as wave after wave of landing craft full of young lads like us went in, many of them never to return" Frank recalls. "We unloaded our cargo without any problems but another ammunition ship just a couple of cable lengths away from us was hit by a shell from one of the shore batteries. We all felt the blast as she went up" After returning to Avonmouth to take on more ammunition, his ship headed back to Normandy, bound for Cherbourg, which was by then swarming with American troops. "We saw a 'couple of French girls dressed in Nazi greatcoats being paraded round the square in an old farm cart. They were being punished by the town's inhabitants for having fraternized with the Germans during the occupation." After the landings Frank returned to general service, qualified as a gun layer at Whale Island gunnery school and then joined the Hunt-class destroyers H.M. S. Chiddingfold. Frank stayed in the navy for some years after the war and served in the cruiser H.M.S. Ceylon during the Korean War, when the ship gave supporting fire for the troops fighting ashore. He joined he Hampshire Constabulary after leaving !he service in 1953 and spent 21 years as a policeman on the Isle of Wight, being the local bobby at Wootton for 13 years.
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