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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke June 7, 2019

This photo shows Red Cross women arriving in France — but not on D-Day

On June 6, 1944, thousands of allied troops landed on the French coast to fight the Germans in Normandy. Were women working for the Red Cross among them? That’s what a Facebook post published on D-Day’s anniversary says.

"Here’s a Normandy Beach landing photo they don’t show you in textbooks," reads a June 6 Facebook post featuring a photo of what looks like women coming stepping off a boat onto the a beach. "Brave women of the Red Cross arriving in 1944 to help the injured troops. Bad ass."

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

Women did cross the pond to help with the war effort. But this photo was taken seven months after the allied invasion of Europe.

The photo dates back to Jan. 15, 1945, and was shot on the Riviera in Southern France, about 650 miles away from Normandy.

"Time for the Yanks in the coastal region of Southern France to sit up and take notice — lady visitors have arrived," reads the photo’s caption on the Getty Images website. "As the ramp of this Coast Guard-manned landing barge swings down, American Red Cross women, carrying small packs and bags, jumped out on the beach. Brought by Coast Guard transport from the US, they are prepared to carry out their duties and keep high the spirits of Yank fighting men."

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As a historical report of World War II on the Red Cross website notes, the service operated in more than 50 foreign countries, and not without casualties. Eighty-six Red Cross workers — 52 of them women — died as a result of the war, according to the organization.  

The document includes one mention of D-Day, noting that, "Red Cross field men trained for the job who accompanied assault troops onto the beachheads of Normandy in order to offer their services in time of greatest probable need."

Among the photos in the document is one from March 1945, also taken in France.

"As the coffee and doughnut line thins out, American Red Cross girl Grace Smith has a moment to answer the inevitable ‘Where are you from back home?’"

Another photo from June 1944 shows "Daniel Boone," the first Red Cross club mobile to land in Normandy after D-Day.  

The photo that appeared on Facebook was also taken after D-Day, by several months, and it captures women arriving in Southern France, not Normandy, as the post claims. But it does depict women with the Red Cross arriving to provide help to injured troops. We rate it Half True.


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This photo shows Red Cross women arriving in France — but not on D-Day

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