Operation Tombola

“My father, Denys Knight, was a Motor Mechanic in the Royal Navy and just 19 years old when he set sail for Normandy on June 6th 1944 as part of Operation TOMBOLA. Now 90 years old, I suggested to my father to take him back to Normandy and that was when Geert was contacted. I asked Geert if he could unearth any local knowledge of the operation at Port en Bessin and then guide us through the operation. With Geert’s help we have been able to piece together a very comprehensive overview of the TOMBOLA operation, something I have never seen written down before.I can’t thank Geert enough for the very valuable part he played in making this a most memorable trip for my Father and for organising the presentation of a D-Day veterans commemoration medal at the D-Day Museum. Geert’s in-depth knowledge and wonderful personality brought everything to life for me and my father and we can’t thank him enough. »
Richard Knight, son of Royal Navy Petty Officer Denys Knight

Petty Officer Denys Knight was allocated to Force Pluto, the amazing feat to supply fuel via under sea pipelines from the UK to France. The invasion force needed fuel from day one and so a separate part of force PLUTO was allocated to a special and separate operation codenamed Operation Tombola. TOMBOLA was centred on Port en Bessin, a small fishing port sitting at the junction of Gold and Omaha beaches. Its role was to set up petrol supply lines from ship-to-shore within a few days of the invasion. Until his tour with Normandy Heroes, Denys had never returned to Port en Bessin since he left there at the end of June 1944.

DSC09184Denys and Richard Knight at the Pluto/Tombola Memorial in Port-en-Bessin


Denys Knight recieving the Arromanches D-Day Museum Commemorative Medal. The Museum has an original piece of PLUTO on display.