A year ago, a lot on offer from auctioneer Charles Miller helped to redress the balance where the rest of the invasion force is concerned, when a white ensign which was believed to be the first Allied flag raised on Sword Beach on D-Day sold for £11,000 against an estimate of £2000-3000.
And now, coming up at the Charles Miller sale next week - on November 7 – is another flag with not only a strong British connection but one to Canadian forces as well.
It is a Union Flag landed with the 3rd Canadian Division at Juno Beach on June 6, 1944, and is estimated at £3000-5000.
This 5ft 8in x 3ft (1.74m x 91.5cm) flag was carried by ‘P’ Commando Sub-Lt Alan Dalton, RN.
Sir Alan Dalton CBE DL (1923-2006) joined the Royal Navy in April 1943. As soon as basic training was completed he volunteered for the RN Commandos (not to be confused with Marine Commandos) created specifically for the invasion of Europe, and was posted to their depot, HMS Armadillo at Loch Long, 45 miles north-west of Glasgow.
Then from September 1943 he was posted to ‘P’ Commando (originally known as RN Beach Commando ‘Peter’) and trained with Force ‘J’ for Operation Neptune (the naval element of the Normandy landings).
In March 1944 he was promoted Sub-Lt and started training with the Canadian 3rd Division which was moved to the South Coast in stages.
On D-Day the unit was landed just before 07.30 (a delay of half an hour because of strong winds and tide) and Dalton guided this division (numbering some 14,000 men in total) across the beachhead carrying this very flag now up for sale at Charles Miller’s auction held at the west London auctions ‘hub’ of 25 Blythe Road.
‘P’ Commando suffered heavy casualties in the intense firefight and were reinforced by ‘W’ (Canadian) Commando on D-Day+3. The unit then remained at the beach command post for six weeks to supervise the follow-up troops.
In July 1944 ‘P’ Commando was returned to the UK and Dalton brought this flag back as a souvenir. The unit was disbanded in October 1944 and Dalton released from naval service in July 1945. HMS Armadillo was also paid off that September.
In his post-war career Dalton became the chairman of English China Clay based at St Austell in Cornwall, was made CBE in 1969 and knighted in 1977.
The flag ended up with a family friend in Cornwall.