October 1, 2019
New Audiotape from D-Day Invasion from WWIIBreaking News
tags: WWII, audiotape
Michael E Ruane is a reporter covering local news, Washington institutions and historical topics.
The sound from the scratchy audiotape is chilling.
“Here we go again; another plane’s come over!” yells radio correspondent George Hicks as antiaircraft fire roars in the background. “Right over our port side. Tracers are making an arc right over our bow now. … Looks like we’re going to have a night tonight.”
“Give it to them, boys!” he hollers.
It’s D-Day, 1944, and Hicks is on a ship off the coast of Normandy as it comes under attack by Nazi aircraft. He’s speaking into a primitive tape recorder that will soon be obsolete. But for more than 13 riveting minutes, he captures the raw sound of battle.
On Monday, a Florida researcher who discovered what appears to be the original tape of Hicks’s famous broadcast in an old log cabin donated it, and other historical artifacts, to the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va.
Bruce Campbell, 63, of Loxahatchee drove the material from his home to the memorial and turned it over to John Long, the memorial foundation’s director of education.
The donation included recordings of all of Hicks’s reports, before, during and after D-Day, as well as recordings of other legendary World War II journalists, such as Edward R. Murrow. It also included rare parts of the primitive tape recorder that was used.
“They freaked out,” Campbell said Tuesday of the memorial officials’ reaction.
Long said in an email: “Imagine if someone found recordings of the Battle of Yorktown or Gettysburg.”
The Hicks D-Day report is iconic and frightening, and one of best pieces of audio to come out of World War II.
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