From John Thornton Nolan my Father to my Mother. I was not yet born.
6th June 1944.

Letter from John Thornton Nolan to his wife, Elizabeth Eileen (nee Hayes) residing then at 204 Southport Road, Bootle, Liverpool 20. Dated ‘D’ Day 6/6/44 written on board the Empire Cutlass, a merchant navy ship belonging to Canadian Pacific
My own darling Eileen

We are now on our way back, thank God, after the greatest thrill in the history of the world. We were right in the front line and saw all that was to be seen. I am so proud that our ship safely carried the men who made the initial landing. I’d love to be home this night to tell you of this mighty affair — it was grand and I would not have missed it for all the tea in China. Of course, I thank God I am safe and well as, no doubt, there were anxious moments. Eileen, we must take our hats off to the Navy, Air Force, Army and The Royal Marines. They were all splendid and we must be proud of them, proud we are British.

We all started off in the best of spirits, and although it was a grim undertaking you would have thought it was a football excursion they were about to embark upon. The morale of the men was magnificent — some of them were playing ‘alfpenny nap only minutes before landing to meet German machine gun nests, etc. It was incredible, but true.

It was rather strange to hear this morning’s 8 o’clock news when the B.B.C. announced that the German Radio had stated the Allied Invasion of Europe had commenced and attacks had been made between Havre and Cherbourg. The B.B.C. did not confirm it, but at that moment we were already anchored within sight of the coast between those points. Eileen, we were with thousands of ships of all kinds, but only three ships that were under the Blue Ensign (Merchant Navy) all others flew the White Ensign (Royal Navy). I am ever so proud I saw those very ships grow from nothing while I was in California. Eileen, sweetheart, lots has happened since that beautiful Sunday afternoon you and I were together in Glasgow. Who would have thought in that short time such a colossal undertaking could be organised and successfully carried out. It seems no time, does it darling? At the first opportunity I must go to church and thank God for his mercy. I am afraid it will be some time as there is going to be such a busy time for us from now on. Eileen darling, I shall write to you at every opportunity, but do not be too anxious now if the mail is held up. You know, darling I love you and am longing to get back to you and while I can’t, I love to write. You are my everything and with you and our own darling daughter I am ever so happy. Eileen, I am longing to get back to my beautiful rosebuds. Again, many thanks for your lovely telegram which means such a lot to me. The enclosures are souvenirs of this great day. The 5 Frank note is what the British Tommy landed with in France

This day (6th June) Eileen, I know is great, but you will be anxiously awaiting news of me so I hope there will be no delay in this mail.

With all my love, I wish you and our darling daughter — Good night and God bless you both.

For ever your loving and devoted husband and daddy.