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6 June 1944 - 25 July 1944

Fire protection on land during the assault was provided by six Fire Fighting Companies, each consisting of a HQ and two first Class Fire Brigades. One company was responsible for each of the three beach sub areas, two companies for MULBERRY B, the RMA and No. 2 Army roadhead while the sixth was responsible for the defence of PORT EN BESSIN and the bulk petrol installations.

The plan for sea fire defence provided for one Fire Boat Company of nineteen fire boat sections to operate as follows :— 

• PORT EN BESSIN - three sections
• MULBERRY B - four sections
• GOLD SECTOR - four sections
• JUNO SECTOR - four sections
• SWORD SECTOR - four sections.

This plan was not implemented in full owing to the fact that fire boats were not completed by contractors in time and during the early stages of the campaign there were not more than six army fire boats operating at MULBERRY B, PORT EN BESSIN and off the beaches. The company HQ was located at MULBERRY B.

During the dry weather in June the main problem was the provision of adequate water supply in the vicinity of dumps and depots. This was solved by the use of static tanks and basins among the depots in the RMA and by filling shell holes and bomb craters in No. 2 Army roadhead.

A water pipe line was run from ARROMANCHES harbour to feed static basins in the transshipment area and a similar line from PORT EN BESSIN provided the water necessary for the protection of the petrol storage tanks in that area. In No. 1 Army roadhead it was necessary to depend almost entirely on the water carried in fire tenders.

Control centres for the receipt of fire calls and despatch of AFS units were established at PORT EN BESSIN, BAYEUX, ARROMANCHES, COURSEULLES, OUISTREHAM and DOUVRES-LA-DELIVRANDE.

The total number of fires attended by Army Fire Service during this phase was 109 of which 44 were caused by enemy action : six of these were major fires. During the critical weather period in June sections of MULBERRY B were kept afloat by continual pumping from fire boats which also carried out much salvage work among shipping.

 

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