Wednesday 9 September 2015

King George VI & Churchill Plan to Land at Normandy Beach on D-Day

"The war had immeasurably strengthened the link between the King and his people." (

King George VI wrote a letter to Sir Winston Churchill on May 31, 1944.  Its contents were shocking:  the prime minister, pushing 70 years old, and the king, pushing 50, both intended on landing on the Normandy beach on D-Day.  How was their plan foiled?

Sir Winston Churchill, a veteran of the Boer War in Africa, was no stranger to combat.  King George VI, a veteran of the First World War, was also familiar with battle.  The king had remained at Buckingham Palace, which was bombed nine times during the first few years of World War II.  He had toured London's East End, sifting through the rubble after the Blitz.

Even so, when Churchill proposed that he would land on the beaches at Normandy with the British troops on D-Day, King George was shocked.  "I don't think I need to emphasize what it would mean if...a chance bomb, torpedo or mine should remove you from the scene," he explained in his letter to Churchill.

King George thought that he would deter Churchill by suggesting that he join him in the D-Day landing.  Churchill, "the Lion", was all for it, however.  Admiral Ramsay intervened and explained to both leaders that they were needed at home to make crucial decisions if D-Day did not go as planned. "I would ask you to reconsider your plan," wrote King George to Churchill.

In the end, neither the king nor the prime minister participated in the D-Day landings.  Sir Winston Churchill made his famous V for Victory sign from 10 Downing Street.  King George delivered a D-Day speech from Buckingham Palace to build moral among the British population.  "The war had immeasurably strengthened the link between the King and his people."

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