Above left: Event organiser, Rod Ballantyne, in conversation with Roger Day. Wil Gildner USAF (far left) and Mr Steven Potter, Littlecote's General Manager (second left), watch as Roger Day gives a brief history of the 506th PIR at Littlecote.(Both pictures Iain Bramwell)The 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, a part of the famous US 101st Airborne Division, was sent to the area around Littlecote in September 1943 as part of the Allies' preparation for the liberation of Europe from Nazi tyrany. Robert Frederick Sink, who established his headquarters here, was regimental commander.
The regiment had suffered 983 casualties, including 231 men killed in action.
Two months passed before they were sent back into combat when the division took part in Operation 'Market Garden' (the invasion of Holland).
His staff officers were quartered in the house whilst the enlisted men were accommodated in a number of huts laid out along the main drive between the house and the east lodge.
Men from the regiment's three parachute infantry battalions were billeted in the nearby villages of Aldbourne, Chilton Foliat, Froxfield and Ramsbury, where a strong bond of friendship developed among the regiment and the people of the area, a bond that continues to this day.
During WWII Roger's mother, Valerie Loveday, and her sister Norma Jean lived with their parents Percy and Flo at 24 Carr Street, Swindon.
Not far away was the 'Majestic' skating rink in Milton Road.
FOR MORE DETAILS SEE During September 1943 the regiment crossed the Atlantic on the SS Samaria arriving at Liverpool on 15th. All other ranks lived in Nissen huts built alongside the main drive between the house and the east lodge.d artillery observers in non parachute units would need to qualify as parachutists.
It then moved south by rail to Wiltshire and was accommodated in the villages of Aldbourne, Chilton Foliat, Froxfield and Ramsbury. To enable these men to qualify in this role the 101st Parachute Jump School was set up on 21st October 1943 in the grounds of the 502nd Battalion area at Chilton Foliat Camp.
On D-Day June 6th 1944 the regiment took part in the airborne assault of the Cherbourg peninsular.
Its mission was to secure and hold a number of bridges and causeways behind Utah beach before capturing the small Norman town of Carentan.
The Regiment then took part in the airborne assault on bridges in the Netherlands as part of Operation Market Garden, along with the US 82nd and the British 1st Airborne Divisions.