Join The Search For The Lost D-Day Landing Clickers
As the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings approaches, we are calling out to veterans and their loved ones to join the search for ‘The Lost Clickers’ used at Normandy.
Supported by The Royal British Legion and marking the upcoming anniversary, ACME Whistles is searching for any original ‘Clickers’ issued to the 101st American Airborne Division in June 1944 as a vital piece of survival equipment.
Paratroopers were dropped into darkness behind enemy lines on the night before D-Day. The darkness and the need for stealth meant that regular communication would be dangerous, so the clickers were used to overcome this. If Paras were not alone when they landed, or later detected someone close by, they were to click once. Two clicks in reply meant friend, no response meant something else.
Why Were The D-Day Clickers Lost?
It was assumed that clickers would be captured and possibly replicated, so they were only to be used for 24 hours and after that they were banned completely.This was an organised attempt at protecting the allied war effort and gave Paras an edge over the enemy thanks to this clear and simple means of communication.
Many replica and counterfeit clickers have been found, and we even produce a D-Day Replica Clicker today ourselves, but very few genuine originals have ever been seen. 7,000 clickers were made during the six-month period immediately before D-Day in 1944. Some were nickel plated but some were just left in plain brass, to ensure that they were ready in time for D-Day.
The genuine originals have tell-tale features that ACME, as the manufacturers will instantly recognise. Like every ACME Whistle, even today, each clicker was individually tested. The consequences of a clicker failing don’t bare thinking about.
During World War II ACME Whistles played a vital role in the war effort. There was no commercial trade as production during this time was given over entirely to making thousands of whistles for the war effort, and of course, Clickers.
The Birmingham factory itself was bombed when incendiary bombs were dropped and one found its way down the lift shaft, exploding in the cellar. Whistles were sent raining out into the streets of Birmingham. A third of the factory was utterly demolished, but so essential were its products that it was rebuilt in just four days.
We're contacted regularly with ACME Thunderers, Metropolitan Police Whistles, Artillery Whistles and Infantry Whistles used in World War II, but never a Clicker. To mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings we would love to find as many of the original Clickers as possible.
Perhaps your great-grandad was a D-Day veteran, maybe he has a box of war medals where it could lie waiting to be discovered? Maybe a neighbour is a widow of a D-Day veteran who doesn’t realise the significance of the unassuming Clicker? We ask that people start seeking them out, to see if they can unearth a lost piece of sound history.
If and when the Clickers are found veterans, friends and family who take ownership of them will be invited to a special commemorative day, hosted by ACME Whistles.
If you’d like to share this message far and wide, the ‘Lost Clicker’ call to action video can be found here. If you believe you’re in possession of an original ACME Clicker please contact Ben McFarlane at [email protected] or call 01215542124.
Alternatively, feel free to message us on Instagram @ACME_whistles