|Route of the Question Mark|
|(A) Failon to (B) Aisne, Belgium (16 miles)|
23 December 1944 to 2 January 1945
|Aisne, Belgium with Stream|
(From Google Maps)
|Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay|
|Churchill and Ramsay planning for Dunkirk|
Knighted for his efforts, Ramsay soon became an expert at amphibious warfare and was instrumental in developing the plans for Operation Torch in North Africa (1942) and the invasion of Sicily (1943). With the end of the latter campaign, he was given command of naval forces for the invasion of Normandy. Overseeing Operation Neptune, Ramsay effectively led the naval element of the D-Day landings in Normandy on 6 June 1944. As Allied troops stormed ashore, Ramsay's ships provided fire support and also began aiding in the rapid build-up of men and supplies.
As the invasion date had neared, Ramsay had defused a potential conflict between Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and the British Sovereign, King George VI, when Churchill informed the King that he intended to observe the D-Day landings from aboard HMS Belfast, a cruiser assigned to bombardment duty for the operation. The King, himself a seasoned sailor and a veteran of the battle of Jutland in the First World War likewise announced that he would accompany his Prime Minister. The two were at civil loggerheads until meeting with Admiral Ramsay who flatly refused to take the responsibility for the safety of either of these two luminaries. Ramsay cited the danger to both the King and the Prime Minister, the risks of the planned operational duties of HMS Belfast, and the fact that both the King and Churchill would be needed ashore in case the landings went badly and immediate decisions were required. This settled the matter and both Winston Churchill and King George VI remained ashore on D-Day.
In September of 1944 Ramsay began advocating for the rapid capture of Antwerp and its sea approaches as he anticipated that Allied ground forces might outrun their supply lines from Normandy. Unconvinced, Eisenhower failed to quickly secure the Scheldt River which led to the city and instead pushed forward with Operation Market-Garden in the Netherlands. As a result, a supply crisis did develop which necessitated a protracted fight for the Scheldt. Ramsay's last operation was the Allied attack on Walcheren, which allowed the port of Antwerp to be used by the Allies.
On 2 January 1945, Ramsay, who was in Paris, departed for a meeting with Montgomery in Brussels. Leaving from an airfield in Toussus-le-Noble, his Lockheed Hudson crashed during takeoff and Ramsay and four others were killed. He was 62 years old.