During the D-Day invasion of 6 June 1944, journalist Fred Perfect sailed with the Allied troops on HMS Largs. As the Daily Telegraph’s special Naval War Correspondent, Perfect reported on many of the campaign’s events, both while he was on ship in the English Channel and on shore in Normandy, France.
Frederick William [Fred] Perfect was born in England in 1901. In 1932 he became a journalist for the United Kingdom’s broadsheet newspaper the Daily Telegraph. In 1944 he became the paper’s special Naval War Correspondent. When the campaign launched on 6 June 1944, Perfect sailed with the allied troops on HMS Largs, one of four Combined Operations Headquarters ships, to Sword Beach, Normandy, France. These ships were responsible for maintaining communication between aircraft, ships and land-based craft during the amphibious operations. Perfect was thus at the centre of the action and his reports offer a fascinating insight into the D-Day campaign as it took effect.
Perfect accompanied British and American troops as they progressed across Europe between 1944 and 1945, and sent reports back to the newspaper’s headquarters from France, Belgium and Holland. He reported on various aspects of the campaign, including Allied progress (or lack of it), the sinking into position of the Mulberry Harbour blockships and the naval bombardment in support of the Allied troops. He also wrote about seeing allied casualties and German prisoners of war while on shore in Normandy, travelling on a ship carrying injured service personnel to the United Kingdom, and meeting French civilians, including a female sniper.
The Fred Perfect papers are held in the D-Day Archive. The archive holds approximately 20 articles written by Perfect; the documents are accessible to view on request in the Portsmouth History Centre.
As part of the planning for Operation Overlord, it was decided that artificial harbours would be needed in order to offload the heavy and bulky cargo needed to mount a successful invasion of Normandy. These harbours were built in Britain, towed across the channel and then assembled by the army once in the waters surrounding France.
The longest Day 6 June 1944 entered history under the now legendary name of D-Day, the Allied landings on the beaches of Normandy. It was the most dramatic part of Operation Overlord, that marked the beginning of the liberation of
D-Day is one of the most remembered campaigns of the Second World War. The operation involved troops from Britain, the United States, Canada and several other countries. On 6 June 1944 the Allied forces sailed across the English Channel to begin their campaign to gain victory against the German forces. Planning the invasion was an enormous undertaking.