The Beaches from Normandy they will always be linked to Day D, to the Allied landing during the WWII, one of the turning points that marked the beginning of the end of the conflict. On August 6, 1944, about 160,000 soldiers crossed the English Channel from England to France. And that operation was recorded in audio.
The reporter George hicks, who at 38 years old was the head of the London radio station delegation Blue network -the direct predecessor of the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) – I was traveling that day aboard the communications ship and troop transport USS Ancon, one of the 5,000 vessels that participated directly in the landing.
George Hicks was the head of the London delegation of the Blue Network radio network
Some of Hicks' recordings have already been part of the United States Library of Congress for years. But the original record, the tapes where the tremendous chaos of the battle and the painful sound of the flying bullets were recorded, have just been donated to the National D-Day Memorial. They have appeared surprisingly 75 years later.
"Here we go again; Another plane has arrived! “, The radio correspondent shouts while the anti-aircraft batteries roar in the background. An airborne assault involving 1,200 aircraft preceded the amphibious landing. “Right on our port. They are making a bow just above us right now … It seems that we are going to have a long night, ”he adds.
His ship, located off the coast of Normandy, was being attacked by Nazi fighters from the Luftwaffe. Hicks used a primitive recorder that was no impediment to capture more than 13 minutes of raw and hard war. The coils were stored in the basement of a log cabin made of wood and located in New York.
The treasure found included not only recordings of all Hicks' reports before, during and after D-Day. It also included tapes of other journalists, such as Edward R. Murrow (remember George Clooney's movie Good night and good luck?), who reported on-site of the battles of World War II.
There were recordings of all Hicks reports before, during and after the landing
He New York World Telegram He had already described the other versions of George Hicks' work as "the best recording that has come out of the war." The original tapes confirm this end. Among the objects found was, in addition, the recorder that was used, an apparatus known as Recordgraph and that Hicks used later to record the Nuremberg trials.
“Another (plane) is coming! A cruise ship by our side is flooding! ”, The journalist shouted as the shots roared, the hums of the German fighters were heard, the anti-aircraft fire began and the shouts of the USS Ancon sailors were augmenting. “Something is burning and falling through the sky. Circling down. It can be an airplane reached, ”he adds.
As the noise of the air battle decreases, US soldiers are heard shouting "We have one!" Hicks corroborates the affirmation of the sailors and briefly explains that “they have one… A great spot of fire fell and now burns near us at sea. There is smoke and flames there. ”
When the ground troops took control of the beaches of Omaha, Gold, Juno or Sword, the reporter landed to cover the battles that were happening on the way to Germany. It was not easy conditions that he had to face. One day, they even considered him dead while he was sleeping covered with a blanket.
Hicks landed to cover the battles that were happening on the way to Germany
On another occasion, around Christmas, he and other journalists escaped death during a Nazi air strike. Back home, George Hicks became a star and had his own show. He died in 1965 at his home in New York City. He was 59 years old. And, from here, you have to jump until 1994 to continue this fascinating story.
25 years ago, Bruce Campbell bought an old cabin in Mattituck, about 48 miles from Long Island. The house was the former summer retreat of Albert Stern, vice president of Frederick Hart Co., the New York-based company that manufactured the Recordgraph. While Campbell and his wife were installed, they found that the basement was full of old and dusty ribbons.
Without much curiosity, they kept them in a plastic bag and forgot about the recordings. Fifteen years later he remembered the matter but it was not easy to discover that it contained the material, as he explained to The Washington Post. That is why he contacted an electrical engineer from Bristol (England) who was an expert in old audio machinery.
When he finally discovered what he had in hand, Campbell was asked to donate the records to the Library of Congress and the Imperial War Museum From great britain. But he preferred to try to sell his treasure. No one wanted it. So, this 2019, taking advantage of the 75th anniversary of the Normandy landing, chose to donate the material to National D-Day Memorial.
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