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Attack on high ground NW of Tilly sur Seulles : June 13.

The Battalion left the area of Conde on June 13 and was given as its final objective the main road Hottot - Juvigny. A Company, acting as vanguard and advancing along the main road Bayeux - Tilly left the main road at Pont de la Guillette and were heavily engaged by Mortars and machine guns. During this attack all A Company's communications with Tac Battalion Headquarters were destroyed, and all the Battalion Comm- anders orders were taken by LO, Captain Sandwith, who did some magnificent work, very often under heavy fire. A Company were pinned down and suffered heavy casualties from mortar fire. One Platoon under Lieut J.L. Bell had advanced almost to the area of the farm buildings before Lieut Bell was hit and wounded and the rest of the platoon was unable to move.

It was obvious that the position was strongly held and the CO decided to put in a Company attack on the right flank to try and take the enemy in the rear. B Company, under Major Atkinson moved off to carry out this flanking movement and followed the line of a small stream. As the forward Platoon was moving up a salvo or Nobelwerfer bombs fell amongst them, killing two men and wounding six. The line of this stream was continually engaged by the enemy and Major Atkinson decided to push over the high ground towards the farm with his two reserve platoons. During this period the enemy positions had been heavily engaged by our mortars and artillery, and a troop of tanks was brought up to support the attack.

12 Platoon of B Company, under Lieut R.D. Busson, made an attack on the farmhouse, its approach covered by 2" Mortar smoke. The Platoon reached the farmhouse under smoke, but was shot up badly firm in hedges to the right and from immediately in front from the road. Major Atkinson again re-organised his men and put in a further attack supported by one tank. The attack was again broken up by heavy Machine gun and Mortar fire and B Company withdrew slightly from the open ground and re-organised along a hedgerow some 200 yards from the farm.

A and B Companies made contact and dug in with their remaining men to establish a line astride the track. A Company left and B Company right. C and D Companies were sent forward and dug in astride the main road to Tilly to link up with A Company's left. Casualties had been heavy and at 2030 hours the Brigade Commander ordered the Battalion to withdraw.

Magnificent work was done by the Stretcher Bearers of the Battalion and the FDS personnel attached. Special mention must be made of the work of Sgt Montgomery and Pte Doodney of the Battalion RAP. They set up an advanced RAP at Pont de la Guillette and covered by fire from the two leading Companies and the tank, evacuated all casualties. Captain Rome, 2nd in command of B Company, was severely wounded in the hand while helping to bring in casualties. Lieut Bell was found only 50 yards from the farmhouse and because the severity his wounds he was evacuated on the tank. Only when all casualties had been brought in did Major Atkinson and Major Galloway withdraw their Companies to the Battalion RV at Buceels.

(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

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Archive: 6 Durham Light Infantry Report, June 1944

Page: Page 7