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The Battalion reached its first objective at Esquay sur Seulles by 2000 hours and, after waiting for some time for permission to advance was ordered to stop at Esquay and dig in for the night News was received at Esquay that the Brigade Commander, Brigadier R.H. Senior, had been taken prisoner shortly after landing. His re-appearance in Bn HQ with the A/Brigadier, Lt Col R.P. Lidwill a few days later, rather shaken and badly wounded in the arm after having made a successful escape, was a very welcome sight.

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, CO "C" Company Two days later its German camouflage had disappeared and the emblem TT 60 was in bold letters on the body. The car is still with us and doing good service. We also took our first prisoners here, mostly Russians of 642 Ost Bn who had no desire to fight and seemed quite content to be marched back under escort.

The advance continued at 5.a.m. on June 7, in the same formation. Invaluable patrolling by Carriers under Captain I.A. Daw told us that the line of the Railway Bayeux to Caen was clear of enemy. We had expected some enemy opposition along this line, but the Battalion crossed the railway without any opposition whatsoever. The rear elements of the mobile column had a most successful brush with the enemy at the Cross roads 815763, just across the railway. The forward elements had already turned south along the road to Condo and as the last vehicles of the column turned left a convoy of Ferman tucks was seen coming towards the road junction. Captain A.H. Sandwith, OC Sapper Platoon, who had been acting with conspicuous success as LO between vanguard and Battalion Tac HQ, immediately organised an attack, with the result that a certain German Unit had no rations or ammunition delivered to it that day. Captain Sandwith gained as reward for his labours a Volkswagen and a driver, who seemed unwilling to leave a vehicle entrusted to him by the Wehrmacht. We could not bring the four three tonners with us and these were knocked out by tank gun fire. This incident '13 a good indication that we had taken the enemy by surprise - he certainly did not expect to see us in that area and had taken no defensive precautions for travelling in safety.

The advance to the final objective was without incident and the mobile column established itself in three strong points in the area North West of Conde. Here we had our first taste of air strafing, unfortunately from our own Thunderbolts, and Captain Daw, who was patrolling forward to Conde in Carriers, escaped the bullets even though his carriers did not. The effect of the Thunderbolt raid was three carriers lost and a sudden realisation of the value of certain G.1098 equipment called Triangles, yellow, celanese, which appeared as if by magic from the packs of Platoon Commanders and Section Leaders. aims sniping was going on even after the main of the Battalion occupied its positions as planned near Conde and Sniper hunting parties became the order of the day, with some good results.

The process of clearing out the enemy was carried further by Captain G.B. Hawkins, OC Anti-Tank Platoon. While still siting his guns across the Battalion front he noticed a 37 mm AA Gun behind a 5 ton truck standing on the Cross roads at 815740 on the road Tilly to Bayeux. He sited his guns behind a hedgerow some 200 yards away from the cross roads and cleaned out the AA gun and the truck with his first shot.

(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

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Archive: 6 Durham Light Infantry Report, June 1944

Page: Page 2