40th anniversary of D-Day commemorative envelope
Carried on The Royal Yacht to the Normandy beaches
Postmarked HM the Queen embarks on HMY Britannia for the Normandy Beaches, 5th June 1984, Portsmouth.
Signed by D-Day veterans Lord Lovat and Pat Porteous VC
Brigadier Simon Christopher Joseph Fraser, 15th Lord Lovat and 4th Baron Lovat, DSO, MC, TD (9 July 1911 in Beaufort Castle, Inverness, Scotland – 16 March 1995 in Beauly, Inverness-shire, Scotland) was the 25th Chief of the Clan Fraser of Lovat and a prominent British Commando during the Second World War.
Prior to the Second World War, in June 1939, Lord Lovat also resigned his reserve commission. In August, as war approached, Lord Lovat was mobilized as a captain in the Lovat Scouts. The following year he volunteered to join one of the new commando units being formed by the British Army, and was eventually attached to No. 4 Commando. On 3 March 1941, Nos 3 and 4 Commando launched a raid on the German-occupied Lofoten Islands. In the successful raid, the commandos destroyed a significant number of fish-oil factories, petrol dumps and 11 ships. They also seized encryption equipment and codebooks. In addition to the destruction of materials, the commandos captured 216 German troops, and 315 Norwegians chose to accompany the commandos back to Britain.
As a temporary major, Lord Lovat commanded 100 men of No. 4 Commando and a 50-man detachment from the Canadian Carleton and York Regiment in a raid on the French coastal village of Hardelot in April. For this action he was awarded the Military Cross on 7 July 1942. Lord Lovat became an acting lieutenant-colonel in 1942 and was appointed the commanding officer of No. 4 Commando, leading them in a successful component of the abortive Dieppe Raid (Operation Jubilee) on 19 August. His commando attacked and destroyed a battery of six 150 mm guns. Lovat was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO).
The raid as a whole was a disastrous failure with over 4,000 casualties sustained, predominantly Canadian. Yet No. 4 Commando executed its assault, with most men returning safely to Britain.
Lord Lovat eventually became a brigadier and became the commander of the newly formed 1st Special Service Brigade in 1944. Lord Lovat's brigade was landed at Sword Beach during the invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944. Lord Lovat reputedly waded ashore donning a white jumper under his battledress, with "Lovat" inscribed into the collar, while armed with a .45-70 Winchester underlever rifle. (The latter claim has not been verified and is disputed; however, in some earlier pictures y/1942 he is seen with a bolt-action .30-06 Winchester M70 sporting rifle).
Lord Lovat instructed his personal piper, Bill Millin, to pipe the commandos ashore, in defiance of specific orders not to allow such an action in battle. When Private Millin demurred, citing the regulations, he recalled later, Lord Lovat replied: “Ah, but that’s the English War Office. You and I are both Scottish, and that doesn’t apply.”
Lovat's forces swiftly pressed on, Lovat himself advancing with parts of his brigade from Sword Beach to Pegasus Bridge, which had been defiantly defended by men of the 2nd Bn the Ox & Bucks Light Infantry (6th Airborne Division) who had landed in the early hours by glider. Lord Lovat's commandos arrived at a little past one p.m. at Pegasus Bridge though the rendezvous time as per the plan was noon. It is a common misconception that they reached almost exactly on time, late by only two and a half minutes. Upon reaching the rendezvous, Lord Lovat apologised to Lieutenant-Colonel Geoffrey Pine-Coffin, of 7th Parachute Battalion. He went on to establish defensive positions around Ranville, east of the River Orne. The bridges were relieved later in the day by elements of the British 3rd Infantry Division.
During the Battle of Breville on 12 June, Lord Lovat was seriously wounded whilst observing an artillery bombardment by the 51st Highland Division. A stray shell fell short of its target and landed amongst the officers, killing Lieutenant-Colonel A. P. Johnston, commanding officer of the 12th Parachute Battalion, also seriously wounding Brigadier Hugh Kindersley of the 6th Airlanding Brigade.
Colonel Patrick Anthony Porteous VC (1 January 1918 – 9 October 2000) was a Scottish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. Porteous also took part in the D-Day landings on 6th June 1944.
Porteous was commissioned in the Royal Regiment of Artillery in 1937. On 26 August 1940 he was promoted to lieutenant. On 19 August 1942, he was 24 years old and a temporary captain attached to No. 4 Commando when he did the deed for which he was awarded the VC, during the Dieppe Raid. The citation was published in a supplement to the London Gazette of 2 October 1942 and read:
War Office, 2nd October, 1942.
The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the award of The VICTORIA CROSS to: —
Captain (temporary Major) Patrick Anthony Porteous (73033), Royal Regiment of Artillery (Fleet, Hants.).
At Dieppe on the 19th August, 1942, Major Porteous was detailed to act as Liaison Officer between the two detachments whose task was to assault the heavy coast defence guns.
In the initial assault Major Porteous, working with the smaller of the two detachments, was shot at close range through the hand, the bullet passing through his palm and entering his upper arm. Undaunted, Major Porteous closed with his assailant, succeeded in disarming him and killed him with his own bayonet thereby saving the life of a British Sergeant on whom the German had turned his aim.
In the meantime the larger detachment was held up, and the officer leading this detachment was killed and the Troop Sergeant-Major fell seriously wounded. Almost immediately afterwards the only other officer of the detachment was also killed.
Major Porteous, without hesitation and in the face of a withering fire, dashed across the open ground to take over the command of this detachment. Rallying them, he led them in a charge which carried the German position at the point of the bayonet, and was severely wounded for the second time. Though shot through the thigh he continued to the final objective where he eventually collapsed from loss of blood after the last of the guns had been destroyed.
Major Porteous's most gallant conduct, his brilliant leadership and tenacious devotion to a duty which was supplementary to the role originally assigned to him, was an inspiration to the whole detachment.
WW2 D-Day cover signed by Lord Lovat & Porteous VC
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