Position-number 494 and name/type of the ship(s): Prinses Astrid.
This ship or these ships was/were located in The Solent area 22. For the exact location in this area, please look at the map. Read this little story: during the preparation of D-Day, the ships assembled in The Solent. Every ship was anchored in an area numbered 1-31 (sometimes divided in North or South). Therefore a Plan of Anchorage for the final assembly of all D-Day ships was made. The location was near the Island of Wight, The Solent.
A witness: Robert Millan watched the Allied fleet assemble in the Solent, before D-Day: I was a signalman in the Royal Navy. I was sent with my best mate, a freckle-faced Yorkshire lad called Foley, to the busy signal station in Gosport called Fort Gilkicker, to augment the regular signal staff prior to the invasion of Europe.
The build up was tremendous, a spectacle never to be forgotten. The Solent waters gradually filled up with every type of naval craft, from battleships down to corvettes and motor torpedo boats. Meanwhile with all the constant reading and sending of signals by 10-inch signal lamps, my mate and I were suffering terribly from conjunctivitis. When we complained about the long 24 hours stretch of duty to the chief yeoman in charge of our watch, we were consoled by how lucky we were; that all that lot out there in the Solent (pointing out to the massive gathering of ships) were going to die, while we would survive. So we had to crawl back into our shells and get on with life as it was.
Then it all happened. I was off duty the night of 5th June, and about 9pm noticed a steady stream of naval craft underway, making for the open sea. As daylight dawned, the whole sea area seemed still. Everything had gone, apart from one ship, H.M.S. Alresford, anchored nearby, and an array of small craft, mostly used for ferrying duties. The invasion had begun. It was indeed D-Day, 6th of June 1944.
Source: Frank and Joan Shaw Collection, D-Day Museum
If you have more information about this record, please sent your information to Fred Vogels, webmaster of Back to Normandy.
Thanks to WWII veteran Sapper, PATS and Roy Martin