|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.|
Brigadier Senior returned during the day having been ambushed near CREPON on the afternoon of D day, wounded in the arm and forced to lie up at night before being able to rejoin his own troops. His arm wound, however, necessitated his return to ENGLAND, and Colonel Lidwill continued as Brigade Commander.
D + 2 spent mainly on planning, as reports of increased enemy resistance continued to come in. Armoured movement in the area of AUDRIEU and ELLON was reported, and it was decided that the Battalion should advance the next day as motorised infantry in support of the 8th ARMOURED BRIGADE, who had been in constant touch with enemy amour since D day.
At 0650 hours on 9th June, therefore, the Battalion passed under command of 8th ARMOURED BRIGADE and moved out from LA BERGERIE, NE to ST LEGER, held by 69 Brigade to form up for the advance. As Lt—Col Lidwill was Acting Brigadier the Battalion was Commanded by its Second in Command, Major A.H. Dunn.
By 0845 hours forward elements of 8th ARMOURED BRIGADE moved through AUDRIEU and DUCY ST MARGUERITE and had reached Point 103, the high ground overlooking the village of ST PIERRE. Enemy were all round this area, in BUGEELS, in CRISTOT, and in TILLY SUR SEULLES, the local township. The Battalion were now formed up 'C', 'A' and. 'B' Companies in that order, riding on the tanks, with 'D' Company bringing up the rear on Assault bicycles. The party moved off at 1000 hours, being preceded by a recce troop of 10 Honeys.
As the advance continued reports came in that 915 Regt held a line from LINGEVRES on the WEST through TILLY, but POW information stated that ST PIERRE, 2 miles to the EAST of TILLY was only slightly held. The forward regiments of 8th ARMOURED BRIGADE moved through AUDRIEU and at 1135 hours the main body halted 1,000 yards from Point 103, with the Dorsets of 231 Brigade behind at HAUT AUDRIEU.
It was decided to attack ST PIERRE with 'C‘ and 'D' Companies 8 DLI forward, 'A' and 'B‘ Companies in reserve, the attack to be supported by elements of 8th ARMOURED BRIGADE and SP Guns. 'H' hour was fixed for 1730 hours. Thus began after three days of comparative tranquillity a week end of constant action and heavy fighting.
The actual attack was delayed slightly and, after a preliminary barrage by SP Guns 'C' and 'D' Companies advanced from Point 103 down the valley towards the village. Enemy resistance, however, proved much stronger than had been anticipated, and the extremely close wooded nature of the country gave added strength to the enemy defence. As one forward Company were still some distance from their objectives, 'B' Company was sent in to implement the attack. Throughout the action, the start point and the area of attack were heavily shelled from the forward slopes across the valley.
Sheer weight of Three Companies eventually proved too much, and about 1900 hours 'A' Company moved down to take up reserve
(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)