Posted by Kristen Hyde on June 5, 2019 in Collections, Research, United Kingdom
© Imperial War Museum.

June 6th 2019 marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the pivotal moment in WWII that began the liberation of German-occupied France and paved the way for the Allied victory and the end of the war.

Also known as the Normandy Landings and codenamed Operation Neptune, it was the largest seaborne invasion in history, with soldiers from Britain, US and Canada contributing to the landing. 10,000 soldiers were injured and over 4,000 were killed during the operation.

© Imperial War Museum.

While the history books remember D-Day as a critical moment in the liberation of France, the soldiers who returned home remember it differently. The painful memories they felt were best left bottled up and unspoken. In fact, a recent study by Ancestry found that one in three veterans never spoke with their families about what they went through and those with ancestors involved in D-Day have gone on to have significant knowledge gaps around their family member’s experience.

© Imperial War Museum.

To mark the anniversary of D-Day and to help Brits discover and remember their ancestors who served, we have a released a special D-Day collection. Available for free to all UK and Irish users, the collection includes over 100 records sourced from 42 different regiments around the UK. The collection provides fascinating and sometimes harrowing insight into the operation including a series of handwritten notes from navy captains, and close-up photos of those on the front line.

The collection aims to help tell the story of the day where traditional records are not yet available, as well as offering users the chance to discover the important role their ancestor played in D-Day.

Search the D-Day War Diaries and Photographs, 1944 collection now on Ancestry.




  1. Virginia Adams

    Glad to read this article. Day most important mission of all WW2 by allied forces. Today’s its 75 years’ anniversary. If this mission fails we could have written hail Hitler now in your Facebook page/social status, in a short the course of the history can be set by this mission. This content is very well written and informative. But do you know how solders pass time on the ship, most of the time they pass time by playing different casino games or pokers? If you like to play those game visits here You will find all those pokers game that soldiers played at that time. This a perfect place to find the right online casino games for you. Thank you.!

  2. Pauline

    A day I will never forget. In the days just before the invasion of France the armed forces who were in in UK packed up ready to go. Some marched, rode in a variety of vehicles required after landing. The men marched at a regular pace and would smile at the people who were watching them go, we were wishing them ‘all the best’ as we were too young to really understand just what was going on as inquisitive children will do, as well as the adults also cheering them on. Jeeps, ambulances, tanks, some with boxes and others with an assortment of artillery and some with the mens’ kit bags. They needed to reserve their strength for their invasion and not waste it on carrying kit bags. I stood there for a long time and then was called home. My grandfather explained to me that all the men and their equipment were going to try and end the war. We would have to wait a long time for them to come back. In the fall of 1945 I changed schools and my new one was close to a vets hospital. I saw lots of men with missing parts of their bodies. I new these were the survivors from that day of watching them march away. When we waited for our London bus we talked to them and they always got on it first. One man, very young, was very kind and explained a lot of the fighting to us. He lost both of his legs and only had two short stumps that let him sit. He had a board with four wheels and pushed himself along with leather gloved hands. He would swing the board up on the bus and then haul himself up. The conductor/conductress would stand at the bottom of the stairs to stop him from going up, he had to go in on the main level. He was always making himself get into trouble with them. He was always happy. He made the other men laugh and joke to try and forget what had happened to them. Thank you young man, I often think about you and my Dad who had died in India in ’43.

  3. girl

    Raise your hand too often, you’re a know-it-all-kiss-ass. Be too confident, you’re stuck up. Be powerful, you’re the whore who slept with the entire wrong guy staff to get there.

  4. Brian Odd

    God bless all of you brave men and women who lost their lives for us. My name as you can see is unusual and I would love to know if my family helped in ww2? Thank you.

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