June 8, 2015

1956. A Letter from an Old D-Day Comrade

Twelve Years Since D-Day
LST 287, later transferred to the Philippine Navy and renamed the RPS Samar Oriental (LT-502)
Bill Downs accompanied Allied forces at Gold Beach during the Normandy invasion. One LST crewman, Fredrick Freeman Leister, wrote a brief letter to Downs twelve years later recalling the experience.
To: Bill Downs

From: Fred F. Leister

September 20, 1956

Mr. Bill Downs
Washington, D.C.

Dear Mr. Downs, 
Each time that I have heard you broadcast for the past few years I have intended to drop you a line. You will probably be surprised to hear from me after so long a time. 
I am the ex-Chief Engineman aboard the L.S.T. 287 that we were both aboard in the Normandy invasion with Chief Engineer W.A. Wilson and Captain F.P. Eldredge. I often think about that morning when we were all in the main engine room making our wills of motorcycles and so forth to each other. I was certainly glad to hear that everything turned out O.K. with you. 
After the (?) I was transferred to the South Pacific and was a very lucky person myself. 
If you could find the time I would be very glad to get a line from you and I would like to give almost anything I own for a copy of your release to the news of the invasion that you were on with us aboard the L.S.T. 287. 
If I am ever around where you are broadcasting I will certainly look you up. 
Yours truly, 
Fred F. Leister 
San Diego, California