A UNIQUE search for the ‘Lost Clickers’ of the D-Day landings has moved to Dorset.

Supported by The Royal British Legion, the initiative calls for World War II veterans and their relatives to trace the original ‘clickers’ issued to American Airborne Division soldiers by ACME Whistles in 1944.

US paratroopers were dropped into darkness behind enemy lines on the night before D-Day. The clickers, which proved an unlikely piece of survival equipment, would be clicked once if someone was close by.

Two clicks in reply meant friend, no response was met with force.

Because D-Day planners assumed the clickers would be captured by German forces, or even replicated, they were only to be used for the first 24-hours of the Normandy campaign.

Now, timed to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the wartime landings, ACME Whistles is searching for the original clickers, and that search has now moved to Bournemouth and the wider Dorset area.

ACME Whistles managing director Simon Topman said: “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.

“We have people contact us regularly with ACME Thunderers, Metropolitan Police whistles, artillery whistles and infantry whistles that were used in World War II, but never a clicker.

“To mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings we would love to find as many of the original clickers as possible.”

Many replica and counterfeit clickers have been found, but very few genuine originals have ever been seen. Some 7,000 clickers were made during the six-month period immediately before D-Day in 1944.

Some were nickel plated but some were just left in plain brass, to ensure that there was time for every clicker to be individually tested in time for D-Day.

Dorset played a vital role in the D-Day landings, with British airborne forces taking off from the RAF airfield at Tarrant Rushton, and troops and equipment deployed from Poole Harbour. The Studland coast also proved pivotal, where live fire training took place in the weeks before the final assault.

Mr Topman said: “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.”

Meanwhile, The Royal British Legion head of remembrance, Catherine Davies, said: “D-Day marked a turning point in the Second World War and changed the course of history. We honour the bravery and sacrifice of our D-Day veterans and we celebrate the hard won peace, democracy, and diversity they fought for.

“As we commemorate 75 years since the Normandy landings it is great to see organisations such as ACME find ways to thank this special generation, and we look forward to seeing what the search for the lost Clickers unveils.”

Visit www.acmewhistles.co.uk for further details.