The Musuem
Floor Plan

The Dennis Wheatley 'Museum' - World War II

D Day : 'The Opening of the Battle of the Century'

Gliders standing by for take off

The beaches

One of the early pages of the typescript of
'The Opening of the Battle of the Century'

Click on the image to enlarge

DW's friend Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard Peck asked if he could be released for a few days around D Day so he could write an account of the operation that could go to the Press.

General Ismay would not allow DW to fly over the beaches in case he was shot down, interrogated, and forced to divulge secrets of the operation, but he allowed him to go down to Harwell to observe the 6th Airborne Division, the spearhead of the army of liberation, take off.

DW was introduced to the senior officers responsible for the operation, and was taken up in the glider that was to take General Gale and his men to France.

He then attended a briefing for the crews and was introduced to General Gale himself - a huge man with a hearty laugh who was to become a lifelong friend of Wheatley's, like so many other senior officers. They and a small group talked until midnight, and then went to bed.

In the morning DW was taken up on a practice run in one of the paratroop dropping aircraft. The weather was foul, and on their return, they learned that the operation had been postponed for 24 hours.

The final briefings were given at five o'clock on the evening of Monday 5th June, and after dinner General Gale gathered a few of his senior officers and DW for a final drink. DW had brought down a special bottle for the occasion.

DW and the Station Commander then went to the watchtower to see the waves of planes and gliders take off.

On the morning of 6th June, DW was back in London with his colleagues from LCS and heard that their long and detailed work on Operation Bodyguard had been an unqualified success.

References: 'The Deception Planners' pp 194-5 and Chapter 18.
Phil Baker pp 424 - 425.
Craig Cabell Annexe C, pp 229 - 246.
Tina Rosenberg Chapter 10

Provenance:middle photo : US Army Signal Corps
other exhibits : private collections