Royal Navy’s Principal Charity Honours D-Day Veterans, Capturing Tributes Made by Loved Ones


To honour the memory of those who served in the Armed Forces during the D-Day landings and the wider war effort, the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) has created a special platform for people to share memories and photos of their loved ones.

We want the D-Day 80 Memorial to be a fitting tribute to those who bravely played their part in D-Day. It's essential to remember the sacrifices made by these incredible individuals and ensure that their stories are preserved for future generations.

RNRMC Chief Executive, Andrew Jameson

Below is a letter written by John Farrow on 12 June 1994 to his son Malcolm (pictured). On D-Day, 6 June 1944, John was the Commander (E) of HMS Glasgow. John left the Royal Navy as a Captain, his son Malcolm also left the Royal Navy as a Captain and his granddaughter Alice is Director of Marketing and Communications at the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, previously Alice shared this with SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity.

John Farrow and his son, Malcolm Farrow

"Dearest Malc,

I was a little surprised to see so little reference to the RN's effort - a veritable armada of ships - in the paper while appreciating it was the Army who had the hellish job of landing on the beaches. The courage of our men who went in front towards the beaches, underwater, to clear the minefields at the water's edge, has always left me breathless with admiration.

I was in HMS Glasgow, and as far as I can recall things were as follows:-

We assembled with numerous other naval ships somewhere in Ireland - I think it was in the Belfast area, and proceeded in company to the channel from there. I was Commander (E), and so responsible for all the machinery functioning properly, and my Captain had made it clear that he might have to call for a burst of full power at almost any time as we approached the French coast, and so we were almost 'watch on/stop on' below. We spent most of our time, with others, bombarding the so-called OMAHA beach and were hit by a shore battery. Although the upper deck was damaged, it did not prevent our guns being able to continue until we were withdrawn, much later we came up the Tyne for repairs.

We were so busy with our own jobs that I can hardly recall anything else, but I remember the sight of the artificial Mulberry Harbour was unbelievable. How they got all those huge caissons and old warships there from all our ports was incredible and a wonderful piece of organisation. The Captain of one of the US Navy ships gave our Captain and me a high-speed run around the area in his boat, an extraordinary trip, only took a few minutes at about 40 knots!!

Our Captain had a small French boy on the bridge with him, how he got there I don't know, but he knew the part of the French coast we were attacking backwards and told the captain the Germans had a forward observation post in the tower of the church just near our position. So sadly we had to destroy the church with our gunfire and the RAF came over and destroyed the cliff it was on too!!!

All I can recall of the actual DD landing moment (as we lay off the French coast in front of us) really was a cheer that went up from our ship's company when they heard our soldiers were advancing onshore. What strange days those were!

My Senior Engineer (i/c fire parties) got the DSC for putting out the upper deck fire caused by the explosion when we were hit (see earlier in this letter). I was of course below then in the centre engine room with a direct line to the Captain on the bridge.

At one stage, we had come back to Portsmouth and taken an Army HQ from Portsmouth over to the beaches, and the tug that brought them to us at Portsmouth at night was crewed by retired Admirals!! (I heard the bowman of the tug told to "Cast off forward" and the reply I've never forgotten was "Aye aye Sir James").

Hope some of this is of interest, it's all so long ago I wish I could remember more clearly. 50 years is a long time."

Families and individuals who wish to pay tribute to their loved ones can visit to create a special dedication on the D-Day 80 Memorial