This was to be the main division to land at Gold Beach on D Day, 6 June 1944.
Before the start of the war, this division was part of the Territorial Army, a volunteer reserve force of part-time soldiers who trained at weekends or during special training weeks, and who otherwise held normal jobs.
The Division’s recruitment area was the North East of England and the two main rivers there, the Tyne and the Tee, are represented in the double “T” of their insignia.
Prior to D Day, the division had served in many European engagements, fighting in France, North Africa and Sicily. They were one of the divisions brought in to lend experience to the British landing forces.
The division was also involved in the evacuation of Dunkirk and so there was some desire to return to France and finish the job. Several other groups were sent to support the landings, including specialists such as medical support, beach control and anti-aircraft.
The 47th Royal Marines Commando was attached to capture Port-en-Bessin from the land, while the 56th Infantry Brigade was attached to provide infantry on the western flank.
In total, some 20,000 men were to land on the 6th of June.