22:30 5th June, Operation Deadstick set off "The Longest Day".
The objective was to capture intact two road bridges in Normandy across the River Orne and the Caen Canal.
Responsibility for the operation fell to the members of 'D' Company, 2nd (Airborne) Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, part of the 6th Airlanding Brigade of the 6th Airborne Division. The assault group comprised a reinforced company of six infantry platoons and an attached platoon of Royal Engineers. They flew from the south of England to Normandy in six Airspeed Horsa gliders.
At 22:30 on the 5th June, the first of six Halifax aircraft from 298 and 644 Squadrons, each towing a Horsa glider containing men of Major Howard's coup de main force, began to take-off from Tarrant Rushton.
At 00:16 on the 6th June 1944, Glider No.92, containing Major Howard and No.1 Platoon of the coup de main force, approached their objective, Bénouville bridge. Once landed, they proceeded to attack and take over the bridge.
Lieutenant Den Brotheridge and Lance corporal Fred Greenhalgh became the first British soldier casualties on D-Day.
Another three gliders landing near the River Orne to attack and take over Ranville bridge.
After a brief exchange of fire, both bridges were captured had been taken in just ten minutes.
The operation was later hailed by Air Vice-Marshal Leigh-Mallory, the commander of Allied air forces during the invasion, as "one of the most outstanding flying achievements of the war."
In 1944 Bénouville bridge was renamed Pegasus Bridge in honour of the operation. The name is derived from the shoulder emblem worn by the British airborne forces, which is the flying horse Pegasus.