When planning the Memorial, its early leaders could not find an accurate count of those killed on D-Day, much less an authoritative roster listing the names of the fallen. Estimates varied widely and often confused fatalities with casualties (killed, wounded, captured, and missing). The board set a laudable but challenging goal: the Memorial would identify and remember, by name, every single Allied soldier, sailor, airman, and coastguardsman killed on June 6, 1944, in the Normandy Invasion. Such a list of the dead from a single event is termed a necrology; hence the research endeavor became known as the Necrology Project.
Recognizing her tenacious skills as a researcher, supervisors tasked Carol Tuckwiller, a former librarian who had taken a retirement job at the Memorial, with finding the answer to the question of how many died on D-Day. Tuckwiller painstakingly tracked down and perused voluminous burial records, after-action reports, personnel files, unit histories, ship logs, headstone applications, and hometown obituaries, among many other sources.
The research revealed many complications. Men had the same or similar names. Spellings varied in records. Copies were illegible. Men died on other battlefields on June 6, 1944. Some wounded during the Normandy Invasion died in the days following D-Day.
Over the better part of a decade, Tuckwiller’s research yielded more than 4,000 names of Allied service members who died while participating in the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. The Necrology Project research continues, with additional names added to the roster when evidence is sufficient to do so.
Above: The names of American and Allied service members who died between 12:00 AM and 11:59 PM on June 6, 1944, while participating in the invasion of Normandy, are listed on the Memorial Wall.