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.
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, 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.