8 May 1944. Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay informs General
Eisenhower that in respect of weather and tides Monday 5
June 1944 or Tuesday 6 June 1944 would be most suitable
for Operation Overlord. Eisenhower provisionally accepts
5 June as D-Day.
10 May 1944. Today British railways commenced the
enormous task of moving stores and heavy equipment to the
coastal ports. The programme was divided into three phases;
in the first those items that would be shipped by landing
craft, then those to be carried in small coasters and finally
stores that would be carried in larger cargo ships.
Over the three weeks leading up to D-Day 9,679 special
trains were run, the most in one week being 3,636.
trains carried everything the Armies might need, among them
some 7,000 vehicles, including tanks. Tanks presented a
special problem since many were classed as 'out-of-gauge
loads' so tank trains could only run under special arrangements
to avoid disrupting other traffic.
Most of this work fell, ultimately, to the Southern Railway
which fed most of the south coast ports. Yet this was all
achieved without any serious delays to regular passenger