Bob Perry well remembers the three weeks prior to the June 6 invasion when he and his shipmates, along with the crews of thousands of ships jamming the ports all along the south coast of England were confined to their vessels as a security measure.
No shore leave was permitted in order to avoid any risk of vital information, even conjecture, as to the timing of the invasion reaching the enemy ears.
Those final days were spent checking and re-checking equipment, there was an air of expectancy as well as anxiety. Last minute letters were written, not to be mailed until the invasion was under way.
Someone has to go First
June 6 was but a few minutes old when HMCS Thunder, the leader of a flotilla of seven minesweepers, headed out into the storm-ravaged English Channel to begin the hazardous task of clearing the five safe passages through the German minefield. They were tasked with clearing Channel Four in the American sector of the operation. The safety of all the sailors and assault troops on board the more than 7,000 ships of all types from the large battleships down to the smallest infantry landing craft, depended on the minesweepers playing their part well.
It was a highly dangerous mission also, because it took them under the noses of the enemy and within range of his shore guns.
HMCS Thunder, a Bangor Class minesweeper Powered bytwo vertical triple-expansion steam engines which produced approximately 24000 horsepower,