New book on Dorset regiments’ role in D-DAY presented to Wareham Library

This generous Dorset couple donated a new book to Wareham Library about the role of Dorset forces in the D-Day landings.

The book, D-DAY Spearhead Brigade by Christopher Jary, is based on the personal stories of soldiers from the Hampshires, Dorsets and Devons who were there. It pieces together the events of the first 24 hours of the raid through the accounts of survivors.

Dorset soldiers were among the first British infantry to land on D-Day. They landed on Gold Beach, sustaining up to 1,100 casualties.

Suzanne Burton and Stephen Fitches heard about the book on BBC Breakfast during the lead-up to the D-Day 75th Anniversary commemorations.

Illicit diary

Suzanne and Stephen were intrigued by the story of Pte Terry Parker of the 1st Dorsets. Pte Parker kept a diary of his experiences in the regiment, even though doing so was illegal. The diary was a key source of evidence for Jary and is quoted throughout the book. At one point Pte Parker describes D-Day as ‘Just hell.’

Wareham Library staff helped Suzanne and Stephen to research the book. They attended the official book launch at Dorchester’s Drill Hall on 8 June, where the first copies of the book were for sale.

The generous pair bought two copies of D-DAY Spearhead Brigade and have donated one to Wareham Library so that others can research Dorset’s D-Day history.

Book presented

Frances Butler, Wareham Library Manager, said “We are so grateful to Suzanne and Stephen for donating this fascinating book. It is of great local interest and is sure to be popular with our library users. Many of our customers have military connections and will find the accounts in this book fascinating and poignant.”

The Wareham Library copy of D-DAY Spearhead Brigade is now available for loan. Library members can request and borrow the book in the usual way. Registering as a library member is quick and easy – call in to enquire about becoming a member.

Wareham Library would like to thank Suzanne and Stephen for their kind donation and support.