The original manufacturer of the “clickers” used in the D-Day landings in Normandy, ACME Whistles, have launched an inspiring campaign to try and locate the original clickers issued to the American Airborne Division in 1944. Only 7,000 were made for the soldiers to use on D-Day and very few genuine originals have ever been found since.
Soldiers would use the clickers to allow them to effectively communicate with other troops nearby to help establish which side they were fighting on. Two clicks of the clicker, or ‘cricket’ in the US, in response to a single click would indicate that the person was a friend rather than a foe. Fearing that the clickers would be captured by the enemy and subsequently replicated, they were only used for 24 hours before being discarded. As a result, very few originals have ever been located.
As the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings draws near, ACME, with the support of The Royal British Legion, are looking to locate as many of the original clickers as possible. If and when the clickers are found, veterans and their friends and family who take ownership of them will be invited to a special commemorative day, hosted by ACME Whistles.
Simon Topman, the current Managing Director at ACME Whistles, details in his own words the role that ACME, known then as J Hudson & Co.
“During World War II ACME played a vital role in the war effort. There was no commercial trade as production was given over entirely to making whistles for the war effort, and of course, Clickers.
“The factory itself was bombed when incendiary bombs were dropped and one found its way down the lift shaft, exploding in the cellar. Whistles were sent raining out into the streets of Birmingham, a third of the factory was demolished, but so essential were its products that it was rebuilt in just four days.”
“It’s the original sound of D-Day and the sound of history. We would love to find as many of the original Clickers as possible.
“Perhaps your great Grandad was a D-Day veteran, maybe he has a box of war medals where it could lie unknown? Maybe an elderly neighbour is a widow of a D-Day veteran who doesn’t realise 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.”
ACME produced a video for the campaign which explains how they were used: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kQtYFivYRQ
If you have any information about an original D-Day clicker, please get in touch with Ben McFarlane at ACME Whistles. For contact information and to read more about this campaign to find these lost significant pieces of military history, please visit https://www.acmewhistles.co.uk/lost-clickers-of-dday