Extracts From 'Eye Witness D-Day'

Discussion in 'British & Commonwealth' started by Pat Curran, Aug 13, 2018.

  1. Pat Curran

    Pat Curran Administrator
    Staff Member

    Oct 20, 2012
    2,541
    9
    Co. Kilkenny, Ireland
    Hi All,

    I have been reading 'Eye Witness D-Day - The Story of the Battle by Those Who Were There' by Jon E. Lewis and wish to share some of the personal accounts therein with Forum readers. The accounts sometimes have dates and locations mentioned, but often they are just general impressions of day to day life during the Normandy Campaign. Regardless, they are all poignant in nature. Readers are welcome to add information regarding individuals or units as we progress through the stories.

    'Commendation for the award of the Military Medal: Lewis Edward Richards, British 231 Infantry Brigade Signal Section [p220-221]:
    At approx. 22.30 hrs 12 JUN in the TRUNGY area south of BAYEUX, after heavy fighting during the day, enemy tks [tanks] in strength started to infiltrate through the posns [positions] occupied by 2 DEVON. This constituted a serious threat to the whole of the Div front, and consequently comn [communication] between Bde [Brigade] HQ and 2 Devon became vital.

    The line was severed, and the wireless link was subject to heavy local interference, making comn difficult, and, at times, impossible.

    In an endeavour to restore comns, Cpl RICHARDS went well fwd in a wireless-fitted jeep, and acted as a relay station. Despite the fact that the posn he had taken up was made extremely dangerous by enemy fire, he remained at his post alone until relieved at 04.00 hrs 13 Jun, when the threat had diminished.

    During this period the courage, skill and devotion to duty displayed by this NCO was instrumental in restoring comn between Bn [Battalion] and Bde HQs, which resulted in the effective direction of the sp arms.'


    Anyone heard of this action by Corporal Richards or know where exactly it took place?

    Thanks,

    Pat
     
  2. Pat Curran

    Pat Curran Administrator
    Staff Member

    Oct 20, 2012
    2,541
    9
    Co. Kilkenny, Ireland
    This account appears to be relate to a date on or shortly after D-Day:

    'Platoon commander, Canadian Scottish [p136]:
    An LMG which sounded like a Bren opened up from a position about 150 yards away. We hit the dirt and I shouted - 'This must be the Winnipegs. When I say "UP" - all up together and shout "WINNIPEGS".' We did and to our surprise two enemy infantry sections stood up just 125-150 yards ahead.

    They too were a picture of amazement. Their camouflage was perfect and it was no wonder we did not see them earlier. But the stunned silence did not last long. There was only one course of action, and to a man the platoon rushed the enemy positions. It was a bitter encounter with much hand-to-hand fighting.'


    Anyone any ideas on this one?

    Thanks,

    Pat
     
  3. Sean

    Sean Active Member
    Researcher

    Oct 24, 2012
    329
    2
    Male
    Battlefield guide
    Normandie
    Hello Pat

    Sounds like Putot-en-Bessin, where Canadian Scottish were sent in to aid the Royal Winnipeg Rifles who'd been suffering a bit under attack from elements of 12.SS Pz Div.

    We have a somewhat dusty thread here that might be worth re-opening.

    Cheers

    Sean
     
  4. Pat Curran

    Pat Curran Administrator
    Staff Member

    Oct 20, 2012
    2,541
    9
    Co. Kilkenny, Ireland
    Thanks for your feedback Sean,

    I'll see if there is more accounts tied to these two units.

    Regards,

    Pat
     
  5. Pat Curran

    Pat Curran Administrator
    Staff Member

    Oct 20, 2012
    2,541
    9
    Co. Kilkenny, Ireland
    The following are accounts from men with the British and Canadian forces landing on Gold, Juno and Sword Beaches on D-Day.

    Lieutenant K.P. Baxter, 2nd Battalion, Middlesex Regiment [p116-117]
    'Steadily the flotilla of LCAs pressed onwards towards the beach. Four hundred yards from the shoreline and the Royal Marine frogmen slipped over the side to start the job of clearing underwater obstacles. This would be sufficiently hazardous at the best of time, but add to it the risk from all those churning propellers – with many more following – and their task became most unenviable.


    Closing to the shore rapidly, eyes scanned the clearing haze for familiar landmarks. There were none. A burst of machine gun fire uncomfortably close overhead brought curses from those in following craft for their enthusiastic ‘covering fire’. Suddenly a burst ricocheted off the front of the craft, telling us that this was no covering fire. The opposition was very much alive and well.


    We had been unable to identify our position but we were now right on top of the beach. The protective steel doors in the bows were opened and everyone waited, tensed for the soft lurching bump. ‘Ramp down!’ – and out into knee deep water. Ahead, a line of prone figures just above the water’s edge and, some 200 yards beyond, a tank was nosed up against the small strip of dunes at the head of the beach.


    The first impression was that the tank had got in ahead of the first wave and they, following the same instructions as given to the Beach Exit Teams, were holding back until the explosive charges had been detonated.


    I had not gone far when I was tripped by some underwater wire, and, with no hope of retaining balance with the heavy Assault Jacket pack that had been issued to us, went flat on my face. Attempting to rise, I was struck a heavy blow on the back which flattened me again. Then suddenly the machine gun opened us on us once again.


    The fire came from dead ahead and we could now make out the shape of a heavy embrasure in the low silhouette of some concrete fortifications at the top of the beach. We then realised that, by the narrowest of margins, we had landed immediately in front of Strongpoint 0880, code word COD.’


    Anyone able to ID the location please?

    Thanks,

    Pat
     

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