Title6 Durham Light Infantry Report, June 1944
Description6th Bn The Durham Light Infantry. Battle of Normandy
SourceUK_National_ArchiveReferenceWO 223/32

6th Bn The Durham Light Infantry. BATTLE OF NORMANDY

After some months of hard training the Battalion embarked on LCIs in Southampton Water at 3 June, with a very clear idea of the scope and nature of the operation it was about to undertake. There was an obvious feeling of excitement on board and the realisation that there was a big job to be done had keyed up both officers and men.

In Southampton Water we suffered various setbacks which tended to damp the good spirits of the men. The news that the operation had been postponed for 24 hours and the thought of an extra day cramped aboard an LCI did not improve matters. In addition on the day of sailing the C),Lt Col A.E. Green, was ordered into hospital with an attack of malaria. This caused a re-shuffle of command within the Battalion and rather upset plans which had been carefully prepared. Major G.L. Wood, MC, 2nd in Command, took over command of the Battalion and his place as commander of the Mobile Column was taken by Major D.E.I. Thomlinson OC "D" Company, which Company formed part of the Mobile Column.

The Battalion sailed during the night 5/6 June and had a rough crossing The thrill of seeing the French coast early on 6 June was counteracted by the wretched feeling of seasickness which had come upon almost every man. During the whole of the crossing there was no enemy opposition either from sea or air and the concentration of landing craft on the beaches carried on with its job without any interference. News of 69th Brigade's successful operation was received an hour before landing and the good work of this assault brigade enabled our own brigade to land without any opposition from the enemy.

The Battalion in general had a. wet landing.

The advance to Conde : June 6 & 7

The ill effects of the sea crossing were soon shaken off as we advanced to the Battalion Assembly Area near Ver-sur-Mer and the Battalion was assembled and ready to move off by 1400 hours. A squadron of 4/7 DG under Major Bell was with us in the assembly area and took part in the advance during the next 2 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 and near main roads, and the difficulties of driving Shermans through the narrow streets of villages. Some enemy pockets were met near Villers le See by the mobile column, but quick action by Lieut T.A. Kirk, in cm of the vanguard, drove the enemy from their positions. During the whole of the move of the Mobile Column we encountered no enemy artillery and were held up only by small pockets of enemy which were beaten up by the mobile column.

(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

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