Title 8th Battalion Durham Light Infantry Report, 1944 June
Description Report on the actions of 8th Battalion Durham Light Infantry in Normandy during June 1944.
Source UK_National_Archive Reference WO 223/33

8th BATTALION THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY

The 8th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry landed at midday on 6th June 1944, as reserve Battalion of 151 (Durham) Brigade, also in reserve.

The crossing was uneventful and no enemy opposition was encountered either from the sea or air. The sea, however, was rough and the LCIs were far from comfortable, many officers and men suffered from seasickness and the sight of the French coast was a relief to all. Practically everyone got a “wet landing", some of the Companies were landed in about five to six feet of water. With the sea being rough, large waves added to the difficulties but the whole Battalion arrived on shore without loss, although one or two people had near escapes from drowning.

The landing was made at LA RIVIERE and within an hour the forward troops had passed through VER-SUR-MER and were re-organising in the assembly area some two miles inland. The enemy was withdrawing on the Brigade front and the Battalion encountered only spasmodic shelling during the landing. A near miss on Bn HQ, however, wounded the MO, Captain Thornton.

At 1600 hours the re-organisation completed, the Battalion moved towards MEUVAINES. The forward Battalions the 6th and 9th DLI were making good progress and reports coming in indicated that the 716 Infantry Regt and the 642 Tartar Regt were not putting up very stiff resistance. At 1915 hours one Battalion had taken up positions in the neighbourhood of SOMMERVIEU and stayed there the night. Later in the evening it became known tht Brig Senior of 151 (Durham) Brigade was missing and Lt-Col Lidwill, the Battalion Commander took over duties of Brigadier.

At the close of D day, the news was still favourable the forward Battalions meeting with little opposition, save for a report of 40 AFVS moving up from CREULLY. There was little opposition to stem the Brigade advance. 15 PW had passed through our hands during the day sent back in the by the leading troops.

All the D day vehicles arrived ashore safely and no vehicle was drowned, as the sea. was so rough it was feared that there would be many difficulties in landing, but fortunately this did not occur. At 0700 hours on the 7th, the Battalion moved forward to gain its first main objective, the area around the Hamlet of LA BERGERIE, which was then occupied by mobile columns of 6th DLI. The Battalion was in position by 1230 hours, and established on the main BAYEUX - CAEN railway. The opposing troops, as before, were of inferior calibre, and one platoon of 'A' Company took prisoner 1 Officer and 85 Other Ranks, who were still in LA BERGERIE when they entered.

Reports of more opposition were now coming in, moreover, considerable tank movement from the SOUTH was reported, and DUCY ST MARGUERITE, ST LEGER and AUDRIEU were known to be held by Hitler Youth and other troops, much superior to the coastal defence forces, who surrendered after only slight resistance.


(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

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