Thursday, 6 June 2019

Operation Deadstick

Today, the 6th June 2019, marks the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, the largest seaborne invasion in history.   The landings heralded the start of the liberation of Europe that would ultimately bring about the end of World War II.  My friend and colleague, James wanted to commemorate the event with a presentation to pupils, parents and staff; his presentation focusing on one crucially important operation, codenamed ‘Deadstick’, its role in the wider operation and what lessons can be learnt from such endeavours.
  
Operation ‘Deadstick’ was conceived to capture and hold the bridges over the River Orne and the Caen Canal, securing the flank of those troops that would land on ‘Sword’ beach by preventing the German Army from sending reinforcements to the landing grounds.  It proved to be an overwhelming success, due mainly to meticulous preparation, the bravery of those involved and a fair amount of good luck.

In preparing for the talk, James stumbled upon the idea of actually building the bridge to illustrate his presentation.  Using his incredible engineering skills, James designed and built a replica of what is now referred to as Pegasus Bridge, working only from original photographs and drawings.  As is often the case, the project suffered from a dose of ‘Mission Creep’ that subsequently saw the inclusion of the gliders’ landing area, the Café Gondrée and even an armoured trawler or two!  Such was James’ enthusiasm for the project that I could not help but contribute where I was able.  The whole process has been an absolute joy and a privilege to work on, thank you James!
We decided to photograph the model in low light, which allowed the blast markers to work their magic; they really could not have been more effective. In the above photographs the only post production has been the occasional removal of an annoying chair leg or camera tripod, a testimony to the quality and creativity of James’ work. The project became all consuming and included the base, which can be broken down into three parts and is supported by a purpose built steel frame. James kept a photographic record of the process and has published this on YouTube, please go and have a look to get a greater understanding as to the enormity of the project, the link is below.  What started out as an idea tossed around the classroom has blossomed into a truly magnificent project that, at its heart, is designed to educate and keep alive the memory of those that were willing to sacrifice everything for the freedom of others.  

"We will remember them."

Please visit James' behind the scenes look at






54 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thank you, we were obviously thrilled with the result.

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  2. Brilliant! Amazing work all around! The blast markers, lighting, bridge and other structures, miniatures, everything, are very well done.

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    1. Thank you, everything came together so well, we could not have been more pleased.

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  3. fantastic, a great tribute. "Up the Oxs and Bucks"

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  4. Magnificent looking installation! It looks more like museum piece than simple presentation!

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    1. Thank you Mr. Nimrod, certainly the feel we were going for in the end.

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  5. Stunning piece, that looks brilliant.

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  6. So unbelivably atmospheric, you've done a brilliant job.

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    1. Thank you Mike, when we saw how effective the blast markers were we knew we had to photograph it in low light to get the best effect.

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  7. Fantastic work, very impressive!
    Best Iain

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    1. Thnak you so much Iain, we really appreciate it.

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  8. What a brilliant tribute to Major Howard's men :)

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    1. Thank you Tamsin, James was determined to give it his all.

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  9. Wow. That looks amazing!!

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    1. Thank you, great to have it finished though.

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  10. A fitting tribute to the 75th Anniversary! Well done!

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    1. Thank you terry, we were determined to get it finished in time.

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  11. Cracking ... love it. Great job

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    1. Thank you Dave and of course for the inspirational blast markers, what a difference they made.

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  12. Superb! Truly fit for a museum. Perhaps one would be interested in taking it?

    I pity that poor sentry in the eighth photo down. He truly looks surprised to see those Englanders running out of the night. "Was ist das? Scheiße!"

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    1. Thank you A.J. at the moment it is enjoying pride of place in the front hall of the school, but eventually we are hoping to relocate it somewhere.

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  13. A fitting piece for the occasion.

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  14. Wow Michael that is fantastic, the low level lighting and blast markers are superb. Well done to both of you.

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    1. Thank you so much. James has now done his talk and it well so well. Looking forward to the next project now. :)

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  15. An amazing modelling feat and a fantastic tribute to a daring and bold endeavour.
    Having stood at that landing spot, I cannot fathom how they managed that incredible feat on that day of days

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    1. Thank you so much Paul. We were keen to bring to life such an amazing feat and not let it be forgotten. James' passion for the project has inspired us all.

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  16. You’re absolutely bonkers and I love it 👍🏻

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  17. Superb looking display and well worth all the effort by those involved.

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  18. An absolutely stunning result to all that hard work. A fitting tribute to all those who took part 75 years ago.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you very much, it was everything we hoped it would be.

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  19. Wow!! What a fabulous project - huge kudos to you both for this marvel. Gobsmackingly gorgeous.

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