Regency Newcastle residents remember D-Day
June 3, 2014
By Christina Corrales-Toy
NEW — 12:50 p.m. June 4, 2014
Four P-51 Mustangs from the Flying Heritage Collection at Paine Field will do a flyover of Newcastle’s Lake Boren Park on June 6, the anniversary of D-Day.
They’re not unlike the ones Regency Newcastle resident Roy Alldritt flew as a member of the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II.
In fact, Alldritt, a fighter pilot, was there June 6, 1944, among the 13,000 aircraft supporting the invasion that experts call the beginning of the end of World War II.
“I got in on the invasion and there was just a lot of action,” he recalled. “You just didn’t have any relaxation or anything.”
During World War II (1939-1945), the Battle of Normandy, which lasted from June to August 1944, resulted in the Allied liberation of Western Europe from Nazi Germany’s control.
Codenamed Operation Overlord, the battle began June 6, 1944, also known as D-Day, when some 156,000 American, British and Canadian forces landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified coast of France’s Normandy region, according to History.com.
If you go
D-Day anniversary flyover
Alldritt will likely join other community members at the park, where at about 12:20 p.m.*, the planes will fly over, offering spectators a close look at the collection. The flight time is vague, because the planes are expected to visit at least 30 cities.
Following the flyover, Regency Newcastle, a premier independent and assisted living community, will host a light reception with snacks at the park shelter for any attendees.
What Alldritt remembers most about D-Day was the waiting, he said. He remembers staying fit and working on flight skills while they stood by for the call to action.
“We had to sit back and get ready for the invasion,” he said. “We didn’t really know what to expect. We hadn’t done anything like that.”
Regency Newcastle resident Max Pope “just missed” participating in World War II, but the Army veteran had a special connection to D-Day after a Normandy visit.
Pope was stationed in Europe in 1954, 10 years after the invasion. Just before he was set to return home, he made a special trip to Normandy, where he toured Omaha Beach and paid tribute to those lost.
Even 10 years after D-Day, the beach was still littered with landing crafts and destroyers parked in the surf, Pope said. He still keeps the pictures he took from that visit.
“Can you imagine coming in, people just throwing lead at you like crazy, and you’ve got to get up to get to the enemy and there’s nothing to hide behind?” Pope asked. “It’s amazing we didn’t lose more casualties than we did.”
As he stood on the bluff overlooking the beach, he said he could only imagine what it must’ve looked like as more than 150,000 troops advanced.
“As a German soldier, you must’ve just been scared spitless,” he said with a smile.
Pope will probably be among those at Lake Boren Park to watch the planes, he said, because it’s important to always remember the sacrifices made during D-Day.
“It’s necessary to keep these things in mind as to what happened, why it happened and why it’s important,” he said.
*Note: The flight time listed here is different from the one listed in the June 6 paper, since the flyover time was still fluid at press time. The correct time, according to the city, is the 12:20 p.m. listed here.