A resident at The Royal Star & Garter Homes who was serving in the Army during the D-Day landings has recalled events leading up to and beyond the Allied campaign.

Joan Sprigg was just 20 and in the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) when the largest seaborne offensive in history commenced on 6 June 1944, serving at the 2nd Anti-Aircraft Group Command at RAF Uxbridge.

She had joined the war effort in 1939, when she fibbed about her age, declaring she was 16 when she was actually 15 so that she could join the Air Raid Precautions (ARP). At 18 she joined the ATS and was transferred to RAF Uxbridge, where she worked as a secretary. Her fiancé Leslie took part in the invasion and survived, and the couple later married.

She was speaking as the High Wycombe home marked the 75th anniversary of the invasion on Thursday 6 June with a two minutes’ silence and other events during the week.

“We knew that it was coming, that something was imminent,” said Joan, who is now 95 and a resident at Solihull. “There was a great deal of activity immediately before the D-Day landings. When the balloon went up on June 6 we were very busy moving anti-aircraft guns to different parts of the south-east corner of England. From our base in Uxbridge you could hear the naval guns involved in the Normandy invasion. It was a terrible, terrible noise.

“I was engaged to a very dashing sailor who was on a motor torpedo boat. He took part in the D-Day landings. It was organised chaos. I wasn’t to know he was taking part, but I had a good idea he’d be involved.

“It was a combined operation and the Navy, RAF and Army all had their designated roles and the organisation, which was commanded by Eisenhower, was meticulously plotted and it did go pretty much according to plan. Thank God things went our way. There was a tremendous loss of life and a lot of heartache but it was the beginning of the end of the war.”