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.
'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.
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