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D-Day — The Battle of Normandy

June 6, 2009
By Howard Riley,

The invasion of Normandy, France was 65 years ago today, June 6, 1944, (in 1944 June 6 fell on a Tuesday.) I have a copy of the Enterprise of June 14, 1944 and the front page was all about the invasion.

Officially the code name for the invasion was "Operation Neptune" and the lead headline read, "Nazis Hurling 4 Panzer Divisions into the Caen Area" with this lead paragraph:

"Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force June 14 (AP) - The Germans have flung four armored divisions into fierce fighting to hold their battleline bastion of Caen, the Allied command announced tonight, and heavy fighting is raging at Montebourg and Troarn at opposite ends of the 100-mile front with both towns changing hands in the last 24 hours."

Article Photos

This ad from the June 14, 1944 edition of the Enterprise shows some pretty good deals at Mullen’s Cash Store, which was located at the corner of Bloomingdale Avenue and Church Street Extension in Saranac Lake.
(Image provided)

Here are a sampling of other page- one headlines 65 years ago: Russians Drive for Key Finn Port of Viipuri; Allies Press 2-Way Channel Air Campaign; French Underground Active Against Nazis; 5th Army Blocks Retreat Route of Germans in Lake Bolsena Area; 13 Jap Ships Sunk by Navy off Marianas, and Eisenhower Tells of New Invasions to Smash Nazis.

It is so different reading stories in a newspaper right at the time an event happened rather than how that event reads in a history book.

An official announcement from Allied Headquarters described how the forces were lined up along the beachhead:

"At Montebourg, 14 miles southeast of Cherbourg, the U.S. Fourth Infantry Division.

"At Ste.Mere Eglise and Carentan farther south, the U.S. 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions.

"At Treviers and to the south, the U.S. 29th Infantry.

"At Treviers and to the north, the American First and Second Infantry.

"Bayeux sector, the 50th British Infantry.

"Between Caen and Bayeux, the Third Canadian.

"Orne River sector, the Sixth British Airborne."


New Yorker first to land on D-Day

"Capt. Frank Lillyman, American paratroop officer was the first Allied soldier to set foot on the soil of France on D-Day. He wrote to his wife of Skaneateles, N.Y., telling her that when she heard about the invasion to remember that her pappy led the way. And 'Pappy' did just that."


On the home front

"Several Saranac Lake members of the medical profession took prominent parts in the 40th annual meeting of the National Conference of Tuberculosis Secretaries held in Chicago.

"Dr. Fred H. Heise of Trudeau was made the new president of the National Tuberculosis Association (NTA) and Dr. John Alexander was named vice president. Dr. Alexander regained his health in Saranac Lake 15 years ago after being a patient for several years.

"Of particular interest at the NTA session were statements on general observations and appraisals of pulmonary therapy and function by Dr. George Wright of Trudeau, Maj. W. Warriner Woodruff, M.D. and Dr. John N. Hayes of Saranac Lake."


Memorial Day in Lake Placid

A headline in a June 1 Enterprise read: "Impressive Rites Mark Memorial Day for Placid," and here are excerpts from that story:

"Simple but impressive ceremonies by the Lake Placid Post American Legion and the Women's Relief Corps marked the Memorial Day celebration to the War dead in this village Tuesday.

"Deo Colburn, commander of the local post, spoke a few words commemorating the day and the Rev. Frederick G. Mackenzie offered the prayer for the veterans. Miss Ethel Betters of the Relief Corps spoke on the program. Taps were played at the conclusion by Harold Anson."


Phone company advertisement

The War brought problems for the New York Telephone Company so the President of the Company, James W. Hubbell, placed a big ad in the Enterprise explaining the situation. He said he was speaking for the 40,000 telephone employees who represented the Bell System in New York. Here is some of the surprising information in the ad:

1. "Those of you who want a home telephone installed."

2. "Those of you present home subscribers who may now, or later on, plan to move and want your service transferred to a new address."

"As of today, there are about 150,000 of you on the waiting lists of our business offices throughout our territory. Some of you have been waiting for many months. The reason is a shortage of telephone equipment, manufacture of which for normal civilian needs was practically suspended late in 1942.

"So far, we have been able to transfer home service for a great number of our present subscribers who have moved from one location to another; however, because of the shortage situation, transfers cannot be made to allocations. Also, because of a government order only one instrument may be connected to a new home address in order to spread the use of existing instruments when no new telephones are being made for civilian use."

And the Saranac Lake Supply Store was advertising a "Giant Size Package" of Corn Flakes for 12 cents.



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