A rare American flag that was carried by US troops on the historic D-Day invasion During World War II is set to be auctioned off.
The 48-star flag has been kept by the captain of the boat for decades that led the first troops on to Utah Beach on June 6, 1944.
‘This flag is easily one of the most significant artifact of the D-Day invasion that exists in private hands,’ said Marsha Dixey, a Historical expert and Consignment Director at Heritage Auctions.
‘We all know the harrowing story of those chaotic dawn hours as America made its push onto the beaches of Normandy.
‘The fact of its survival is nothing less than a testament to the irresistible force of the American will.’
The torn and tattered flag that is replete with a bullet hole from a German machine gun is expected to fetch as much as $100,000 in the auction.
According to Heritage Auctions, the 30 feet by 57 feet banner is the ‘sole war souvenir of US Navy Lieutenant Howard Van Der Beek’ when it was flown from the stern of Landing Craft Control 60.
After the war, he went on to become an English professor and wrote about the moments before they charged the beach in his memoir of his war experiences titled Aboard the LCC 60: Normandy and Southern France, 1944.
‘At some point I looked astern and saw what lay at sea behind us: the greatest armada the world had ever known, the greatest it would ever know,’ he wrote in the book.
‘I must have been overwhelmed by the sight as I clung to the rail for a moment to take in the magnitude of that assembled fleet, many great, gray ships majestically poised in their positions; larger numbers of unwieldy landing vessels heaved by the heavy sea; and countless numbers of smaller amphibious craft tossed mercilessly by the waves.’
According to Heritage Auctions, American flags that have been involved in battles have long occupied the ‘upper strata of military collectibles.’
Nearly a decade ago, flags that belonged to JEB Stuart and George Armstrong Custer fetched $956,000 and $896,000 respectively.