Welfare stores, including sports equipment, were issued before D-day. Sports equipment was specially packed in “composite” cases, as for example, the football “composite”, which contained cases, bladders, laces, repair outfits, inflators, lacing-awls and dubbin. In addition, there were soccer and rugger match packs, each pack containing a complete outfit of clothing, including boots. 1,000,000 cigarettes and a supply of pipe tobacco, the gift of members and friends of the Oversea League, were shipped to the theatre each week.
Arrangements were made through the War Office with the Newspapers Association for the provision of BRITISH daily newspapers on a scale of one per ten men. Papers were packed in standard packs by a military unit and were despatched to the Continent, first by sea and later by air.
The first despatch was on D-day, but owing to cancellations in sailing, boats going to the wrong beach etc., arrivals of newspapers in NORMANDY were irregular for the first week, but some forward units did receive their newspapers on D+2.
The total number supplied on D-day was 56,000 which was stepped up a month later to 96,000. The cost of provision of the newspapers was borne by NAAFI.
Five “Stars-in-Battledress” parties, phased in with corps troops, landed on the beaches on D+8. They gave programmes within a mile of the front line, on a stage which was usually a 3-ton lorry with the sides down. Six ENSA mobile parties arrived on D+5.
Towards the end of July, the first mobile canteens arrived, and they began at once to operate among the forward troops.
Between D-day and 26 July, 5,500 wireless sets were issued.
Five Army Kinema Service sections, each consisting of two dual 35 mm and eight 16 mm cinemas landed in the bridgehead between 15 June and 26 July, and cinema shows were successfully given for eight hours each day to large audiences.