Personal War Diary

Philip Ned Simons

Philip Ned Simons


June 2, 1944

Today we found out that we are to be in the invasion of France. We were all called back to the fantail. Mr. Price (our EX. Officer) read us the dope and just what to expect from them and what the Navy Dept. expects of us.

June 3, 1944

Nothing to comment on. Wave correspondent (B) came aboard with equipment.

June 4, 1944

Today we were all set to invade France. The nervous tension was terrific. Not much was said on the bridge. We (Task force) started from Belfast, Ireland on our way to France. Our three biggest ships are cruisers Quincy and Tuscaloosa and B. B. Nevada. We also know that the B. B. S. Texas and Arkansas and the cruiser Aqusta will also take part in the invasion. We got to the English Channel and for some reason turned back up the Irish Sea. We were told that the invasion was to be postponed for 24 hours because of weather conditions. We heard that the newspapers in the states were reporting the “ Invasion was on,” and people were celebrating. What a hell of a thing to celebrate over. Won’t they be surprised when it does come off? I am sorta nervous but glad to have it on its way and get this dam thing over with.

June 5, 1944

Last night we turned around (1930) and headed back toward the English Channel. This morning at Quarters we were told providing the weather was reasonably clear we would go “in”. Well it is a nice day and we were told to take a shower and put on a complete change of clothes and we were to get some sleep today as we are expected to be at (GQ) for a few days. We will go to (GQ) after tonight’s chow so tonight is the big night I guess. I’m gonna close for now and get some sleep. So until GQ or after the invasion I will close with a little prayer for all of us. I only regret that if I get killed I would have lived a better life and I sure will if I get out of this ok.

June 6, 1944 2030 I am on condition watch now and have made my last trip to my bunk and locker until after the invasion. On watch I found out that “H” hour is set for 0630 tomorrow morning. Also that we are to go to our battle stations at or around 2200. I guess we will then proceed across the channel to the place that we are to attack. We are suppose to arrive at our position at 0100 then wait around for the order to commence fire. I sure hope that we don’t hit any mines on the way in or run into any “E” boats. If everything goes smoothly all we will have to worry about is a few enemy planes and shore batteries that are to be untouched by our bombers. Their guns are suppose to be 75 MM cannon and there is about 5 or 6 that we are to knock out. None of our A. A. guns will fire unless of emergency. Only the 5” battery will fire immediately. I am going to try and keep a record of the fight and to my reactions through the entire battle. I am as cool as a cucumber right now as though I were lying in the sun on my way back form Gibraltar. On the director platform there is a complete movie camera of the British War Correspondent we have aboard. Will close again for now or maybe for good.

June 6,1944

Today was the first time I have ever seen action. We invaded France after bombers and paratroops paved the way. We bombarded the beach and knocked out three enemy coast batteries.

We went to G. Q. at 2000 yesterday and we formed our formation. It was one cold journey across and all the time we were spotting our Troop Transport planes (C47) coming back from France after dropping para-troops on the beach. We are in our position and at approximately 0400 the flares from our planes began dropping over the French beach and thus following one of the greatest bombardments from the air the world has ever known. It was absolutely unimaginable it was terrific. Many of our aircraft were shot down by A.A fire.

At 0535 a P. C. 500 yards behind was hit by a bomb and blown all to hell. A Stuka dropped it and seconds later a spitfire was on his tail and blasted him to ribbons. Everybody cheered this act, as he would have gotten us to if it hadn’t been for the spitz. Ten minutes later another P.C. just aft of us was sunk by shore batteries. Both the Stuka and the shore batteries were trying to get us but fortunately for us they missed. At 0613 an LCI was blown just aft of us again. One man survived. Later two LCT15’s were blown up going into the beach to land. An LCI came along side with wounded men. They brought seven aboard and two were shot up pretty bad and died later. They were both sailors in the amphibs. One was an Ensign the skipper of the LCT. The others were also sailors with the exception of one whom was an army fellow who had been in three invasions before. We were relived a little past noon and hung around a Troop Transport until we got our orders to convoy 3 Troop Transports back across the channel. We dropped one off at Portsmouth, England along with the wounded and dead. We refueled and then took the other two ships to another port by Lizards Point. During this time we developed engine trouble. Our starboard engine went on the blink and we returned to Plymouth and stayed the night. We knocked out 3 s.b. today lost a few planes 8 or 9.

June 7, 1944

We left Plymouth this morning at 0700 and came back to France. We did shore bombardment and knocked out a few shore batteries (12). We had light air tonight but we had plenty of air support.

(Note) Saw 3 planes shot down.

On June 6th we were shelled by a shore battery from the beach and they came within 50 yards of the ship. We finally located the battery; it was located in a church tower. We knocked it out, but it made us think twice about the sturdiness of the Germans.

We had three air raids this night and they shot down one of our Mustangs which fell into the water about 200 yards from us. A C.G. launch saved the aviator and he was brought aboard out ship for treatment. He was all right just a little shaken up. Shore bombardment today we knocked out 2 mortars 2 shore batteries and blew up an ammunition dump.

June 8, 1944

Shore bombardment and big air raid. Saw 4 planes fall.

June 6th the Corry DD 463 was sunk by shore batteries and on June 7th the Glennon was hit by shore batteries and later we sunk it after taking all the men that were left of it.

June 9, 1944

Second air raid we shot down two German bombers the 3rd air raid 2 more Germans downed. Shelled shore batteries during the last raid. Half the crew can sleep to 0400. “E” boat attack at 0100 plenty of star shells. Sunk one and damaged 3. They hit two of our LST’s don’t know how bad they were hit.

June 10, 1944

Air attacks of German positions by Marauders. Six C 47’s with gliders supported by Mustangs they dropped air-borne troops. All this afternoon terrific naval gunfire from light and heavy ships against enemy held peninsula. Waves of bombers pounded the hell out of them. We fired three hundred rounds of 5” knocked out 2 shore batteries. At 2000 another air raid. Germans let a few bombs drop on our beachhead. “E” boat attack was driven off after they had put a trope in the Nelson DD621 damage great. Not many killed.

0345- Air raid 2 shot down after they had hit one of our transports. All for now.

June 11, 1944

War correspondent took our picture with us at our 20-MM machine gun. I am in gunner position with foul weather gear on. Allen on lookout didn’t get in picture. Pierce and Haigh sleeping by gun. I am very tired and hungry.

1600- our planes are over German positions giving them hell. Got a chance to sleep 1 and 1/2 hours. Got a lot of those Jerry’s today. Seen had to hand combat through binoculars.

June 12, 1944

0700 - shore bombardment 1000 relieved when to England for repairs, fuel and rest for the crew which is needed badly.

June13, 1944

Stayed in England all day.

0315- loaded ammunition, Limeys helped us take on stores. Liberty and good chow for a change.

June 14, 1944

0795 received 51 letters from the states.

0830- headed back to France with mail for Cruiser “Luska” 75 bags for her. Some for the DD636 Butler. Went to G.Q.

2300- air raid big one.

June 15, 1944 100- air raid bigger one.

Secured from G.Q. at 0630. 800- 1200 Condition Watch- sleepy as hell lots of our fighters and bombers are over the coast today.

Admiral Dayo came aboard the Shubrick and stayed awhile. Didn’t get any dope on the purpose of this visit. Must have been important though.

June 23, 1944

We picked up 2 German aviators (0600) after a hell of a big air raid. One was an officer, the other an enlisted man. One tried to pull his gun out but one of our officers knocked him down on a stretcher and took his gun. They were a couple of scared rats for awhile.

June 27, 1944

We went on a suicide mission today at dusk to get German shore batteries, which haven’t been knocked out yet. Got them to fire at us while a Liberator took pictures of the coast so they could find out where they were. We along with 6 P.T boats, cruised down the coast at 5,00 yards out. We were well within their range when they opened up on us. We immediately headed away from the beach laying out our smoke screen to hide from them. They continued firing at us when we were away from them. Boy I am telling you those shells almost had our name on them. The nearest one hit 25 yards off our Port bow and gave us quite a jolt. We finally got away (all of Us) and were given those familiar words of compliment. “ Well Done Shubrick”. The Skipper of the P.T. squad was Com. Buckley the man who took Mac Arthur from Corrigador to Australia during the first part of the war in the Pacific.

June 28, 1944

Took a lot of Officers on board. Heading for Plymouth- speed 30 knots.

3 dots and a dash- Meant Victory

Something about John has a long mustache was the code word for go.