British company on the lookout for clickers

British company on the lookout for clickers

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

A British whistle manufacturer is on the hunt to find a tiny and rare piece of survival equipment used by U.S. paratroopers ahead of the D-Day landings.

As the 75th anniversary of the historic military operation by the Allies approaches, Birmingham-based Acme Whistles launched its Lost Clickers of the D-Day Landings campaign. ACME is putting the call out to Second World War veterans and their families in hopes they can locate one of its 7,000 clickers issued to the American Airborne Division and used as a vital piece of signalling equipment.

Simon Topman, Managing Director at Acme Whistles, says the campaign is mostly focusing its search efforts in the U.S. but says ­clickers might also exist in Canada, Great Britain, or elsewhere. 

“Perhaps your great Grandad was a D-Day veteran, maybe he has a box of war medals where it could lie unknown,” said Topman. “Maybe an elderly neighbour is a widow of a D-Day veteran who doesn’t realize the significance of the unassuming clicker? We ask that people start seeking them out, to see if they can unearth a lost piece of sound history.”

Demonstrating its use, Topman shows how the tiny boxed-shaped clickers fit in the palm of the hand. He says the clickers were nickel plated, while some towards the end of the production run were made in plain brass in the rush to get them ready in time for the landings. 

Paratroopers used the device after they were dropped behind enemy lines the night before D-Day on June 5, 1945, as an effort to get scattered paratroopers back in a composed fighting group. The clickers were designed to give an audible signal, making a distinct clicking noise when pushing down on the lever. If a paratrooper was not alone when they landed or if they were detected by someone in proximity they were instructed to click once. If responding to the sound of another clicker, a two-click response meant friend, and no response meant the person was not a member of their division.

The campaign was launched on April 24 and also has the support of the Royal British Legion. If any clickers are found, veterans, friends and family who take ownership of them will be invited to a special commemorative day hosted by ACME Whistles. For more information or if you believe you have located a clicker contact:

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