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US Ambassador needs city’s help

The U.S. Ambassador is on a mission to remember and has called on Britain’s help.

 

This year, we remember the great sacrifices made by so many Allied soldiers to prepare for and execute the D-Day Landings 75 years ago. To mark this anniversary, U.S. Ambassador Robert ‘Woody’ Johnson has launched a special campaign to discover British stories about the American soldiers based in this country in the run up to D-Day.

 

Historians in the area are also calling on Chichester residents who lived in and around the city during D-Day to share their memories for a new oral history project.

 

Mr Johnson said: “Almost every town and village in the United Kingdom has a story to tell about the American soldiers stationed here in the run-up to D-Day.

 

“It is such a privilege to hear about all the experiences those young Americans had in this country –the sacrifices they made and the very special friendships they formed with the British people they stood shoulder to shoulder with.

 

“To mark this year’s special anniversary of D-Day, I am asking people across the UK to get in touch and share their stories of the American troops in their communities.

 

“Together, we can keep their memories alive for each new generation to come.”

 

The initiative in the city is being led by the University of Chichester, as well as the West Sussex Record Office and Tangmere Military Aviation Museum.

 

Chichester and the surrounding area played an important role in D-Day – troops, aircraft and supplies all moved through the area to be part of the largest amphibious assault in history.

 

As June 6, 1944, dawned, those living in the area would have realised that history was being made right on their doorsteps – with memories not just for those directly involved, but also ordinary men, women and children who bore witness to the
mobilisation.

 

“The 75th anniversary of D-Day is the ideal opportunity to capture personal memories of the event from those it touched at the time, before those stories disappear for good,” said Dr Andrew Smith, historian in the department of humanities at the University of Chichester.

 

“Perhaps you remember being a child and seeing troops and changes in your city before the run-up to D-Day? Did you know the military personnel stationed at Bishop Otter College, now the university, or were you involved with the college itself?

 

“Do you have interesting photos, documents or objects relating to the period?

 

“Or did you purchase any of the collections from Shoreham D-Day Aviation Museum when it closed? If you can answer yes to any of these questions, it would be great if you could take part in our oral history project.”

 

The project team wants to hear local people’s stories and memories, and to scan any photographs or documents they would like to share.

 

It is an opportunity to contribute their stories to an evolving record of the area’s social history at the time of D-Day.

 

The oral history interviews will be part of a series of local events to mark D-Day in and around Chichester, including a programme of scheduled public talks which will be announced nearer the time.

 

To take part in the Chichester project, contact Dr Smith on 01243 816499 or email: a.smith@chi.ac.uk

 

All original photographs and documents loaned to the project team will be scanned with the utmost care and returned to their owners.

 

To contact the US Embassy project, call: 0207 891 3809 or email: Reflond@state.gov

 

You can also post your information, to: World War Two: Keep the Memory Alive, Public Affairs, U.S. Embassy London, 33 Nine Elms Lane, London, SW11 7US.

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