Stella Broughton Hosts D-Day Party Before Invasion


The night before D-Day was to commence, a party was thrown for the serving troops, many of which would be celebrating for the last time before their tragically short lives came to an end. The party was organized by a young woman named Stella Broughton. She was to host the party without ever making mention of the events that would befall the soldiers the next day, though she was given incredibly high security clearance (the same level as PM Winston Churchill) due to her knowledge of D-Day before it transpired.

It was an understandably stressful period for the troops, especially those higher up on the chain of command. Despite all of the training exercises prior to the beach invasions, some of the higher-ranking officers had never actually met and shaken hands before D-Day, at least until the party. Broughton’s get-together gave them a chance to get to know one another on a social basis. Broughton proved herself to be trustworthy with the secrets she was told, and kept her word not to converse about such subjects with those attending the party.

Broughton had previously worked under Supermarine, a manufacturer of Spitfire planes, so she had experience with keeping secrets. She was also a secret-keeper under the British Invasion of German Occupied Territory (BIGOT). Her ability to keep such secrets was kept intact long after D-Day transpired, her silence continuing for decades after the end of the Second World War. Now, she has finally decided to relate her story in an autobiography. As it turns out, part of the reason a woman was chosen for her task was to keep the soldiers from being too tempted to speak of the events themselves.

In fact, Broughton was told to avoid all sense of military structure. She did not even address the attendees by their ranks, as is usually customary. The party was full of food and alcohol so that the officers could make merry before marching into the deadly invasions now known as D-Day, and Broughton danced and conversed with each of them to help keep their minds from the impending fray, the Mail Online reports.

Broughton has now released a book coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the event, entitled Tomorrow is D-Day. It details her experiences with the party and her increased security clearance, which gave her full access to all information regarding Operation Overlord. Now named Stella Rutter, the surname of her deceased husband, she is finally able to share the secrets regarding D-Day which she has kept to herself for decades.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE