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What does the ‘D’ in D-Day stand for?

The code word is not as complicated as you may think.

Southwick House in Portsmouth was the nerve centre of planning for the Normandy landings (PA)
Southwick House in Portsmouth was the nerve centre of planning for the Normandy landings (PA)

The words “doom”, “debarkation” and “deliverance” have all been suggested as meanings for the “D” in D-Day.

But the letter is derived from the word “Day” and means the day on which a military operation begins.

D-Day has been used for many different operations but is most closely associated with the Allied landings on Normandy’s beaches on June 6 1944.

The day before D-Day was D-1 and the day after was D+1.

It meant that if the date for an operation changed, military staff would not have to alter all the dates in their plan.

This happened during the Normandy D-Day landing operation, which was originally planned for June 5 – but bad weather delayed it by a day.

In the build-up to the Allied invasion, code names and acronyms were vital to help maintain the blanket of secrecy around the operation.

As well as D-Day signalling the date of the operation, other code words included:

– H-Hour: The hour of the invasion.

– Bolero: The build-up to D-Day in Britain.

– Operation Overlord: The overall invasion plan.

– Operation Neptune: The seaborne invasion.

– Mulberry: Artificial harbours towed across the Channel.

– Ham and Jam: The signal indicating the bridges at Benouville (Pegasus Bridge) and Ranville were secured by Allied forces.

– Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword: Code names for the five landing beaches in Normandy.

PA

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