Sound: Normandy from the air on D-Day

Hear Maurice Mayston describe flying from England towards the Normandy coast on the morning of D-Day.

Maurice Mayston was a fighter pilot with 485 NZ Spitfire Squadron. On D-Day his squadron shot down the first German bomber over the Normandy battlefield, and quickly followed it with a second. From then until August 1945, Maurice was on continuous active service and was based in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany.

Normandy coast from the air


'We went out in the first light, before the dawn. We were lucky; although there was other cloud the east still had this glow, and we could see down below the darkness of the land and the shiny surface of the sea, and the light was getting better every minute of course, and then dawn broke, and we saw this immense armada of ships in the semi-darkness. It was awesome, and there were the hundreds and hundreds of landing craft, loaded up with men heading towards the beaches, all in nice neat lines and order. It was awesome, there's no other word really. And something that we'd been looking for, and here it was happening. It was absolutely wonderful.

two pilots walking back from their aircraft

New Zealand spitfire pilot, Flight Lieutenant Maurice Mayston, RAF, 2nd from right, back from a fighter sweep over France in the days before D-Day.

Maurice Mayston, 2004

Maurice Mayston, 2004

Community contributions

2 comment has been posted about Sound: Normandy from the air on D-Day

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Geert Beelaert

Posted: 19 Apr 2009

I'm writing a book on 485 (NZ) Spitfire squadron. It starts in 1941, it leaps thru the years and events of the war' to the moment the squadron landed in my hometown Maldeghem, Belgium. They lived here for the last months of 1944, then were attacked by the Germans "Operation Bodemplatte" on B65 Maldeghem. At the end of February the squadron left for the Netherlands to spearhead the liberation of Europe. Kia Ora, Geert Beelaert