Treating D-Day’s Wounded

Private First Class Warren Capers, 08/18/1944 (ARC 531501; 112-SGA-44(11664))

D-day conjures up all kinds of images: the thousands of boats making their way across the English Channel, the men leaping off the landing craft and wading ashore under heavy fire, and the dangers once they got onto the beach and headed for the cliffs.

It must have been terrifying to be part of the assault. In looking at images and video about D-day in the holdings of National Archives, I was not sure what choose for the today’s post. There is Eisenhower’s Order of the Day—and his handwritten note taking full responsibility in case the operation failed.

And the logistics of D-day are amazing and overwhelming as well. Over 160,000 Allied troops with 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft had to be coordinated and maneuvered across the English Channel to land on 50 miles of beach that was seeded with thousands of mines and other underwater obstacles and occupied by German soldiers in concrete bunkers on high cliffs.

In the end, I decided to highlight one photograph. The image above doesn’t have any guns or smoke, but it does show one person whose act of bravery was in assisting others during that long day.

The image above is from Record Group 112, Records of the Office of the Surgeon General (Army). The original caption reads “Private First Class Warren Capers recommended for Silver Star. With other members of his medical detachment Private Capers set up a dressing station and aided over 330 soldiers on a beachhead on D-Day., 08/18/1944.”

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