- 5 -

from drowning, but managed to got ashore and later joined up with the remainder of tho Brigade HQ party, which had commenced to march inland, taking with it the wireless sets of the Beach Signals unit in hand- carts, since these were the only ones available owing to the disaster to the Brigade Major's equipment.

On the right flank of the Brigade front the operation was going well, and before ten o'clock 6 Green Howards had captured the Meuvaines ridge, over a mils inland, and were continuing the advance south.

The reserve battalion, 7 Green Howards, commanded by Lieutenant- Colonel P.H. Richardson, had landed three-quarters of an hour after H hour, and; after some difficulty in finding a suitable route inland, had captured the. Ver-sur-Mer battery position, which was found to be out of action. 50 prisoners were taken, most of them being found in discreet retirement in the concrete shelters in rear of the gun position. The battalion then continued the advance towards Crepon, followed by the 5 E Yorks, who, in View of their losses in the initial fighting, had re- organised at Vers-sur-Mer into three companies. By 1230 hours 7 Green Howards had reached Crepon and reported that little opposition had been met except sniping. An anti-tank gun was firing into the village, but the advance continued, and shortly before three o'clock the battalion had seized the bridge over the river Sculles at Creully.

6 Green Howards, on the right flank of the 7 Green Howards, were also continuing the advance, and shortly after three o'clock were on the high ground dominating villiers le Sec, less than a mile to the north-west of Creully. 5 E Yorks, who had been following up the axis from Vers-sur-Mer, were ordered to advance through the 6 Green Howards who had the task of holding a firm base on the feature overlooking Villiers le Sec and the river Seulles.

On the high ground south of the river and the village there was some opposition, including self-propelled gun, and two of the tanks supporting the leading battalion were knocked out and "brewed up" in the valley before this gun was dealt with. The enemy was found to be dug-in in the cornfields on the reverse slope of the ground south of Villiers, and the battalion moved in extended order through the corn- fields, beating out the Germans. Enemy mortar fire was heavy, and Lieutenant-Colonel White was seriously wounded by a mortar bomb early in the action. 5 E Yorks smashed this enemy position and went on without pause towards St Gabriel. Files of captive Germans began to move down the dusty roads towards the beaches.

7 Green Howards, who had met some considerable opposition south of Creully, had by six o'clock fought to a point half a mile south of the town and were now directed on Coulumbs, some two miles to the south- east. 5 E Yorks got to St Gabriel, but there was no rest for them; they were ordered to occupy Brecy, north-west of Coulumbs, but shortly after leaving St Gabriel they met heavy automatic fire from the woods to the south. The Brigade Commander decided to attack round the right flank with the 6 Green Howards. The attack, which commenced at half past nine and was supported by 86 Field Regiment (S.P.) and B Company, 2 Cheshire; proved successful, and enabled Brecy to be cleared, and by half past ten the brigade was established in the area Brecy-Coulumbs, with Brigade HQ in St Gabriel. There the Brigade Commander decided to call a halt. Thus, by the evening of D day, the brigade, though a mile short of its planned objective in the St Leger area, had breached the much-vaunted Atlantic Wall and advanced seven miles inland.

So much for 69 Brigade's part in the day's operations.

(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

Found an error?

Found an error with this archive item? report it here!

Archive: 50 (NORTHUMBRIAN) DIVISION, An extract from the divisional history

Page: Page 15