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John Howard (1912-1999)

Major John Howard played a pivotal role in one of the most daring and crucial operations of the D-Day invasion: the capture of Pegasus Bridge.

As the commanding officer of “D” Company, Howard was part of the British 6th Airborne Division. Their mission was to secure two vital bridges, Pegasus Bridge and Horsa Bridge, spanning the Caen Canal and River Orne respectively. Securing these bridges was essential to prevent German reinforcements from reaching the invasion beaches and to allow Allied forces to advance inland.

In the early hours of June 6, 1944, Howard’s glider-borne troops landed near Pegasus Bridge, facing daunting odds. With precise planning and exceptional skill, they quickly overwhelmed the German defenders and seized control of the bridge in a swift and well-coordinated assault.

The success of this operation was critical; it prevented German counterattacks and provided a secure passage for Allied forces landing on Normandy’s beaches. It also showcased the effectiveness of airborne troops in executing vital objectives behind enemy lines.

John Howard’s leadership, courage, and meticulous planning were instrumental in the success of the Pegasus Bridge operation. His unit’s swift and decisive action in securing the bridge within minutes of landing demonstrated the bravery and effectiveness of Allied airborne forces during the Normandy invasion.

The capture of Pegasus Bridge remains a celebrated moment in military history, symbolizing the bravery and tactical brilliance of the soldiers involved. Major John Howard’s leadership and the success of his unit in securing this vital objective contributed significantly to the overall success of the D-Day invasion.