|Title||50 (NORTHUMBRIAN) DIVISION, An extract from the divisional history|
|Description||50 Div: Diary of G.S.O.l, 1943 - 1944|
- 7 -
Both reserve brigades were ashore by about 1100 hours, 2me their day, though not marked by heavy opposition, was not uneventful.
56 Brigade advanced to a position just short of Bayeux, and 2 Essex sent patrols into the town.
On the left, 151 Brigade suffered an early set-back through the temporary loss of their commander, Brigadier R.H. Senior, D.S.O. The Brigadier was ambushed in the afternoon near Crepon, wounded in the arm; and forced to lie up to avoid capture. He rejoined hie troops next day, but his wounds necessitated his return to England.
The brigade moved inland, over the green and gentle slopes or the Meuvaines ridge, and by evening had advanced as far as the railway south- east of Bayeux.
The following description of the 8 D.L.I.'s activities, by an officer of the battalion, is given as an example of this brigades's experience. (On the day of sailing, this battalion had the misfortune to lose its commanding officer Lieutenant-Colonel A.E. Green who was ordered into hospital with an attack of malaria. He rejoined the battalion later. In the meantime, Major G.L. Wood took over command)
"The ill effects of the sea crossing were soon shaken off as we advanced to the battalion assembly area near Vers-sur-Mer, and the battalion was assembled and ready to move off by 1400 hours. A Squadron of 4/7 Dragoon Guards under Major Bell was with us in the assembly area, and took part in the advance during the next two days. The general plan was for a mobile column, consisting of tanks, carriers, machine- guns, mortars and anti-tank guns, with D Company on bicycles, to move ahead and establish three strong-points which would be taken over by the rifle companies as soon as marching personnel reached the objective.
"The mobile column under Major Thomlinson moved off at 1500 hours, two hours behind the time planned. Movement was slow because of congestion of troops and material on the near main roads, and the difficulties o!‘ driving Shermans through narrow village streets. Some enemy pockets were met near villers le Sec by the mobile column, but quick action by Lieutenant T.A. Kirk, in command of the vanguard, drove the enemy from their positions.
"During the whole of the move of the mobile column we encountered no enemy artillery fire and were held up only by small pockets of enemy, which were beaten up, The battalion reached its first objective at Esquay-sur-Seulles by 2000 hours end after waiting for some time for permission to advance, was ordered to stop at Esquay and dig in for the night.
“We had our first spoils of war at Esquay in the shape of a 10 h.p.. Ford car, proudly driven into the battalion area by Major M.J. Kirby, officer commanding C Company. Two days later its German camouflage had disappeared and the emblem TT60 was in bold letters on the body. The car lasted throughout our part in the French campaign We also took our first prisoners here, mostly Russians of 642 Ost Battalion, who had no desire to fight and seemed quite content to be marched back under escort."
At last light on D day, most of the infantry of 50 Div were half a dozen miles inland. Forward elements were reaching out and patrolling into Bayeux. The important St Leger feature was almost within grasp. And away to the west a small but determined force was threatening Port-en-Bessin in action which did not end until 8 June, but which is described here because it began on D day.
(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)