I first launched this website early in 2007 but the project really began in the summer of 2005.
Although I was already interested in the subject through talking to my father (John Hughes Fenton, who served with No. 4 R.A.F. Beach Squadron) and through reading the “Normandy Beach-Head” chapter of his memoirs, it was not until after a visit to Normandy in August 2005 that I began to research the history of R.A.F. beach units. This visit, a short holiday for me, my father and my daughters, was my father’s first return to Normandy since 1944.
We were lucky enough to meet the curator of Musée America Gold Beach, Jean-Pierre Dupont M.B.E., who was very helpful and hospitable to us. Coincidentally, the museum was planning to create a new display about the Beach Groups on Gold Beach. M. Dupont (who sadly, passed away in 2017) was very interested in my father’s experiences and, when some photographs of R.A.F. Beach Squadron personnel were found in the Imperial War Museum’s collection, it inspired in me an interest in further research. I decided to create a website to share what I discovered.
Originally, the website focused on the R.A.F. Beach Squadrons that went to Normandy in 1944. From this starting point I began to research more widely into the history of R.A.F. beach units The original website grew, over the years, to include a large amount of information. In April 2020 the website was re-platformed and is slowly being re-built so that, in time, it will present the same content in an up-to-date format.
It has been a pleasure and a privilege to make contact, through this website, with relatives of R.A.F. beach unit veterans and especially, a few of the veterans themselves. Many of these have contributed personal material for publication on the website. There are others too, with a common interest, who have shared information with me. I am extremely grateful to all these people because their contributions have made this website more interesting and complete.
This is a ‘not for profit’ website. I have published the material for the purpose of historical record, to share knowledge and to remember those who served in these units. I am motivated only by my interest in the subject and the satisfaction of providing a service to other people who are interested. I do not mean to infringe the rights of any individual or organisation, or offend anyone’s sensibilities. I hope I have avoided doing so.