And then he fought across France and into Germany. Resquiet in pace.Major-General Logan Scott-Bowden, who has died aged 93, carried out secret reconnaissance missions to the Normandy beaches which paved the way for the D-Day landings.Scott-Bowden was a member of the Combined Operations Pilotage Parties (COPP), a small unit which specialised in the clandestine survey of potential sites for the Allied landings in Italy and later France. On the night of New Year’s Eve 1943, he and Sergeant Bruce Ogden-Smith, clad in rubber swimsuits, swam for 400 yards from a landing craft to the area west of Ver-Sur-Mer, later known as Gold Beach.Each carried a Colt 45, a commando knife, wire cutters, wrist compass, emergency rations, waterproof torch and an earth auger for testing the bearing capacity of the beach. The objective of their mission was to determine whether the landing area would stand up to the weight of heavy vehicles disembarking in great numbers. If armour and supply vehicles became bogged down in a hitherto undetected substratum of clay or peat bog, it would put the whole operation in jeopardy.
...As they moved along the beach, they had to flatten themselves on the ground every minute as the beam from the local lighthouse swept over them. Heavy rain arrived to provide some very welcome cover and, encouraged by the sounds of New Year celebrations, the pair spent several hours collecting samples in bandoliers.Heavily laden by the time they attempted the return journey, they were thrown back many times by the rough sea before they managed to get through the surf.
Hat tip: Jeff, via email.