March 19, 2018 – Historically important WWII Invasion of Normandy D-Day grouping to sell by auction, to include the D-Day Flown Flag of LST 314 – Omaha Beach, D-Day Worn Personal Effects of LT. Henry L. Oakes (D-Day 11th Amphibious Force), along with other WWII service-related Items belonging to Oakes – to cross the auction block on March 26, 2018, at Centurion Auctions.
A very significant and extensive grouping of WWII Normandy D-Day Invasion Items, consigned by the family of D-Dayveteran – United States Navy LT. Henry L. Oakes (Aug. 13, 1900 – Nov. 23, 1973). Oakes was one of the oldest of the Allied Forces to take part in the D-Day Invasion (D-Day 11th Amphibious Force). During his WWII Service, Oakes was awarded four Purple Hearts (two of which are from action in Normandy, France) and a Bronze Star. All items within this lot have been in the possession the family since being brought back by Oakes. All were maintained within the original military trunk of Oakes.
The lot includes:
WWII D-Day Flown Flag of LST 314 (Landing Ship Tank) – Omaha Beach (Red), Invasion of Normandy. This 48 Star Ensign was flown aboard LST 314 on June 6, 1944, as it took part in Omaha Beach (Red) Operations during the invasion of Normandy (D-Day). It was recovered and kept by Lt. Oakes as he took part in D-Day Operations. Written in black ink (albeit exhibiting some fading, but clearly discernible/legible) by the hand of Lt. Oakes to heading of the flag itself is the following wording: “6th June – 44 LST 314 Red, Beach Normandy, France.” Oakes stated to his family that he removed this flag from LST 314 and then utilized the flag on the beach to establish a make-shift command post for follow-on beach operations. Following D-Day, Oakes spent weeks on the beaches of Normandy, where he oversaw varying Beach Operations.
LST 314 was subsequently sunk by German torpedoes on the evening of June 9, 1944.
Personal Effects of Oakes. All of these items were verbally stated by Oakes to have been used/worn by him personally on D-Day and then in immediate follow-on Beach Operations:
- U.S. Navy Issue Foul Weather Gear
- USN Mk 1 Knife
- U.S. Marked Canvas Bag (**See Bag Note Below – has handwritten chronological list of Oakes’ WWII service, written by Oakes)
- USN Canvas Gas Mask Bag
**Bag Note – Canvas Bag: Written in black ink, inside the top flap of the canvas bag, by the hand of Lt. Oakes is his timeline of WWII service. The timeline is in chronological order and written as follows:
- 11th Amph. Force 6th N.B.B.
- Feb 43 London – S.H.A.E.F. (Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force)
- March 43 – Scotland
- April – May – France
- June 6th 44 – Normandy Beach Head (11th Amph. Force)
- June 17th 44 Cherbourg, France
- July 3rd London – Hosp. 15 Days
- July 19 RI – Ship Trans Com One
- Aug – Home !!
It is also worth noting, the family was in possession of the painted invasion stripe WWII D-Day worn helmet of Lt. Oakes (the same helmet he is pictured wearing in the included Normandy Beach photos and in the photo of his son), but they regrettably sold it a few years back. We have images of the helmet, and there are images of the D-Day helmet belonging to Oakes available by way of an internet search as the buyer later posted it for sale.
Other Included Provenance/Items:
- Original photographs (dated 6/20/44) showing Oakes on Normandy Beach following D-Day. Oakes remained on the beach and surrounding area, following D-Day in support of continued Allied Normandy Beach Operations. Affixed to the back of each photo is the date of the photo and a typed description of the activities taking place.
- Photograph of Oakes’ son and a friend (dated August 1944) taken while Oakes was home on medical leave after being wounded in France, showing the son and friend wearing some of Oakes’ D-Day gear.
- WWII U.S. Navy Officer Visor belonging to and named to Oakes.
- Various Official U.S. Navy Orders, Notices, Notes & Papers relating to Oakes and his service, with dates ranging 1943 through 1947.
- Throughout 1943 and early 1944, Oakes was involved in the installation of anti-torpedo gates in North African ports, and for this received a Citation from Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal. The Citation letter states “for meritorious achievement as Net and Boom Defense Officer of the U.S.S. Naval Operating Base, Oran, Algeria during a period of almost continual offensive operations against the enemy in the Central and Western Mediterranean in 1943 and 1944 … When subsequently placed in charge of the laying and mooring of a net in Andalouse Bay, he supervised the installation of the net in record breaking time despite inadequate personnel and material and, by his ingenuity and unremitting efforts, contributed materially to the effective protection of Allied shipping in these vital ports from underwater attack.” Included, is the hand-signed Citation letter, as well as the bound Navy-issue “Net and Boom Defenses” & “Net” manuals used by Oakes while laying and mooring the nets.
- Newspaper article written about Oakes and his D-Day/WWII service.
- Stars & Stripes Newspaper (dated Monday, July 17, 1944), where on the outside back cover is a lower-left photo of two Navy men on the beach in Normandy, and having the caption: “Two Navy Men dive for a foxhole, one losing his helmet, to duck a Nazi plane swooping in for a quick strafe run.” And Oakes has noted in pen: “Me!” next to one of the men ducking into the foxhole.
- Leather German P38 Holster and various German-printed publications Oakes picked up in France following D-Day, as the Germans retreated.
- Faded photocopies of Oakes’ Navy Separation Papers
- Oakes’ Obituary
The Allied Invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944 (D-Day) involved nearly 160,000 Allied Troops (half of whom were American). The D-Day Invasion, and the sacrifice of those involved signaled a turning point in the WWII European theater, and contributed largely to the defeat of Germany.
Only a handful of legitimate D-Day flown flags are known to exist in the market. As such, this grouping – to have the D-Day Flown Flag and the Archive/Personal Items of Oakes – makes for an exceptional opportunity to own an incredible piece of history. The depth and comprehensive nature of this grouping is remarkable.
All items in this lot are consigned by the family of LT. Henry Lewis Oakes. All have been in direct possession of the family since being brought back by Oakes. Also included, from the Consignor, is a signed and Notarized Statement of Authenticity.
Please select this link to visit the detailed online photo gallery of this WWII D-Day Invasion Lot. The photo gallery displays 140 images to reflect all of the items and material included with this lot.
Bid now on this WWII D-Day Invasion Flown Flag of LST 314 Omaha Beach & Lt. Henry Oakes Archive – Lot 28211 of the March 26, 2018, Military & Wartime Collectibles Auction. Bidding is open to floor, live telephone, absentee and internet. Everyone is welcome to register and bid.