D-Day’s Sunken Secrets takes a look at a unique expedition to the bottom of the ocean to explore the lost battlefield of D-Day – the seabed off the coast of Normandy.
“70 years on from one of the pivotal actions of WW2, this extraordinary film opens up a remarkable new window on D-Day. It’s the story of the terrible cost of the operation – and it’s there, just yards from the beaches, hidden in plain view beneath the waves, told by men who were there, and calibrated by the spectacular and newly revealed wrecks of the tanks, ships and landing-craft that never made it ashore.” – Simon Raikes, Commissioning Editor – Factual at Channel 5
Using sonar technology and expert divers, the documentary uncovers the military treasures thought to be lost forever, and hears from some of the men who took part in the landings. In the Channel 5 show to air later this month a team of historians, wreck detectives, scientists and veterans are on a quest to discover what lies below the waves.
During the programme English and American veterans such as Bill Allen recall their experiences. Allen worked as a teenage medic. On his fourth trip to the beaches, his ship hit a mine and 94 of his shipmates died. Bill returns to Normandy for the first time and takes a submarine to the seabed to pay his respects to those comrades who never returned. We also meet submariner Jim Booth who was part of five-man crew on a midget submarine that lurked off the coast for days before the invasion.
June 6th 1944 saw the world’s biggest amphibious assault, one of the most important military campaigns in history and a pivotal moment in the Second World War. For generations, historians, archaeologists and other experts, in their attempts to reconstruct the events of the day, have scoured every battlefield…except one.
Just off the coast of Normandy is a lost graveyard, where hundreds of objects lie on the sea bed. The team scours a 500 square kilometre stretch and among the astonishing objects they find are curious collection of American Sherman tanks, specially adapted to float, and the wreck of the SS Leopoldville, a troopship hit by a German U-boat which lost 800 lives.
D-Day’s Sunken Secrets airs later this month.