|BCSP05CS||D-Day Triple postmarked cover, signed the late Gueritz||£50.00||Limited Availability|
Issue Date: 05/06/2004
Issue Name: stamp issue name
Producer: Buckingham Covers
6 June 1944. The Allied invasion of Normandy. The war hangs in the balance . . .
Sword Beach was the codename of one of the five main landing beaches as part of the invasion.
The German forces had covered the beach with obstacles, anti-tank ditches, mines, machineguns and mortars along the beach.
Across the River Orne, at Merville, there was the dreaded heavy gun battery. That's where the Germans had placed 75-mm guns.
Sword Beach was well placed to take a battering and casualties were expected to be high.
In to this was thrown 24 year old Edward "Teddy" Gueritz. He was the 3rd most senior officer on Sword Beach that day - and when both his superiors were hit, he had to run the show alone.The Cover
This very limited edition cover features a painting by Frank Wootton OBE of Spitfires flying over France on D-Day. It has been postmarked 3 times. The British, French and Isle of Man stamps are postmarked in Tarrant Rushton, Ranville and Douglas respectively. A very limited number were personally signed by Rear-Admiral Edward Gueritz CB OBE DSC.Signed by a True Hero
Rear Admiral Gueritz passed away in 2008 - the few are getting fewer - making this tribute unrepeatable.
On D-Day, 6 June 1944, Gueritz went ashore on Sword Beach at 0800 as the third most senior member of the beachmaster party. He was just 24 years old.
Sense of Humour!
Rear Admiral Gueritz had a lovely sense of humour and once chuckled about the various misnomers experienced by those with naval ranks. Apparently the Soviet Embassy addressed him as "The Real Admiral". His bank called him "The Rear Admiral" and he'd also been addressed as "Rear Edward Gueritz" and even once as "Unknown Gueritz".
His favourite of all was used by the National Trust, which once sent him a letter addressed to "Dear Dear Admiral Gueritz".
His immediate superior, Commander Rowley Nichols was badly wounded, and the army liaision officer Lieutenant-Colonel D V H Board was killed almost immediately. This left Gueritz alone with the task of marshalling all the troops coming ashore, organising the landing craft and maintaining contact with the naval forces offshore.
He was wearing a blue-painted helmet and a red scarf, and his sole weapon was a blackthorn walking stick.
Gueritz's immediate task was to solve the problem of vehicles becoming stuck in the soft sand, and to start getting men through the exits being cleared through the minefields and barbed wire by flail tanks.
Despite all set backs, by the evening of D-Day 30,000 troops, hundreds of vehicles and tons of ammunition and other supplies had been landed and moved through the beach area.
Gueritz continued his work for 19 days then, fortunately just after he had put his helmet back on, he was struck in the head by a shell fragment. Initially the seriousness of his wound was not realised - he just felt "very peculiar" - and it was only when he collapsed while he was being treated for a minor hand injury that doctors discovered that the back of his skull had been crushed.
"Without the helmet I wouldn't still be here," he said later, "I had just put my helmet on but didn't duck quickly enough."
Rear Admiral Gueritz was awarded a Bar to the Distinguished Service Cross he had previously been awarded.
He lived on for another 65 years spent in the Navy, the security world and academia, receiving many decorations.
His talents ranged from a decade as a question-setter for the television programme Mastermind and director and editor-in-chief to the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) to spending 20 years as a specialist adviser to the House of Commons Select Committee on Defence.
For those of us privileged to have worked with and known him, he stands out as one of the most delightful, kind, modest and genuine people you could ever meet.
He died on 21 December 2008.The D-Day Collection
A tribute to Lieutenant Colonel Otway.
Lieutenant Colonel Otway silenced the Merville Battery, a huge and dangerous placement of German guns, with just one machine gun! Had he failed, the allied ships would have been destroyed. We have an alterative, double postmarked edition of this cover personally signed by him.
This cover was also signed by "The White Mouse", resistance heroine, Nancy Wake as well as war time beauty, Dame Vera Lynn and war hero and film star, Richard Todd.