Red Cross Retrospective - Workers Land on Normandy Beach

  • WWII D-Day
    June 1944. Normandy, France. Red Cross Clubmobile units hit the beaches of Normandy, fully equipped for the "doughnut march" to the front. Clubmobiles are staffed with three American girls and prepare coffee and doughnuts with the most modern equipment. Jerry Waller
  • D-Day, June 1944
    June 1944. Normandy, France. The Daniel Boone was the first American Red Cross clubmobile to land in Normandy, France, following D-Day and saw action all the way through Austria. This scene shows the clubmobile landing with invasion troops on the Normandy Beach.
  • D-Day, France 1944
    Great Britain -- American Red Cross lines up its Clubmobiles in preparation for the "second front." Photo by Jerry Waller.
  • France 1944, July
    July 1944. France. View from aboard an LST, showing a deck load of American Red Cross clubmobiles. A convoy of LSTs and escort are in the distance. Photo by Jerry Waller
...we had a few on the ground with the first wave of assault troops. They helped out with the wounded and passed out comfort articles.

Well before the invasion, the Red Cross was preparing for the clubmobile programs move to the continent. The exact date the Army took the Red Cross into their confidence regarding the D-Day invasion is not known, but it was probably in the spring of 1943. The plan was to carry the Clubmobile service to the continent shortly after D-Day. Each task force would have 30 persons, including a driver, 3 club workers, and 2 cooks and they would be equipped with 10 vehicles, 5 clubmobiles, 1 cinemobile, for movies and live music, a staff car and 3 trucks. The clubmobile groups would have the letters A through L assigned to them. The task forces were to follow as close in the wake of the armed forces as military authorities would permit. They used the 2 ½ ton GMC truck for the clubmobiles. The Red Cross supplied water and generators for each group. A driving and maintenance course was given to all Zone V Red Cross personnel. By mid-July 1944, the first clubmobiles groups began arriving in France. The Daniel Boone of Clubmobile Group B was the first to land on the beach. 75,000 doughnuts were served the first week of operation. By the end of July, five more clubmobile groups had arrived.
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The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.