While visiting relatives in Scotland, my auntie showed me this letter that my great-uncle, able seaman William (Bill) Honeyman, wrote from a ship approaching Normandy on the 5th June 1944 as the D-Day landings were about to take place.

I’ve wondered in the past if the men entering into battle on the beaches were aware of just how massive the overall operation it was. We know now that this was make-or-break in terms of the War, but did they know this as they set out?

Bill’s references to the task at hand made me realise that they knew it all too well. They knew that this was likely to be the largest invasion the world had ever seen, and that failure was not an option.

While most of the letter is concerned with descriptions of what he sees and does before and during the early part of invasion, this recognition of the enormity of the situation is most vividly illustrated in the cover sheet and in a passage that would look bombastic in virtually any other setting.

What was at stake:- The future of the whole civilized world depended on this, the Greatest Venture ever undertaken in the annals of World History. We must defeat this devil upon earth so that the people of the World should live in a world as our Lord planned it to be and for what He suffered and died upon the CROSS AT CALVARY.

(Click images to enlarge.)