|8th Battalion Durham Light Infantry Report, 1944 June
|Report on the actions of 8th Battalion Durham Light Infantry in Normandy during June 1944.
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small numbers of enemy in the village, but in the main the enemy had pulled out to the high ground to the SOUTH and WEST towards TILLY.
Sunday the 11th June was a day of shelling. The Battalion remained in their positions, undergoing constant shelling, whilst our own artillery shelled TILLY and all known enemy positions. The RAF were straffing FONTENAY and other enemy strongholds to the SOUTH and EAST. By 1700 hours 7th ARMOURED DIVISION had tanks in TILLY and attempts were made during the evening to link up their patrols with ours.
Enemy tanks movements had been reported constantly, and they were known to be WEST of the village, on the far side of the SEULLES Bridge, towards TILLY. During the evening the Battalion positions were very heavily shelled and our troops were under constant spandau fire from the high ground to the SOUTH.
At 2050 hours 'B' Company, SOUTH of the Battalion were attacked by Tiger tanks who machine gunned their slit trenches, killing the Company Commander Major T.L.A. Clapton, and seriously wounding Major A.H. Dunn, the 2i/c.
Three tanks were identified and the presence of infantry suspected.
At the same time 8th ARMOURED BRIGADE HQ on Point 103 was attacked by small parties of enemy tanks. The Battalion being at one time completely out off and surrounded by tanks. The Command- ing Officer was at a conference at Brigade HQ and he was unable to return in his jeep and had to make a hazardous journey back on foot through open fields.
The tanks were shelling Bn HQ from close range, and we were forced to withdraw some few yards and form a close area, with all Companies grouped together in a rough square. The attack was not pressed, however, and our efforts with those of our own tanks and the NH Anti Tank Guns were sufficient to drive off the enemy.
By dusk the enemy had withdrawn and there were no further incidents during the night.
On Monday 12th the Battalion re-organised after the evenings excitement and resumed its active patrolling of ST PIERRE, by this time empty of the enemy. The whole area was shelled constantly during the day. Capt E. Woodruff i/c Carriers, being wounded. Numbers of enemy were sighted during the afternoon, some of them unarmed, and 10 POW of 901 PANZER LEHR REGT were brought in during the day.
In the evening it became known that the Battalion was withdrawing and at 2315 hours covered by the 8th ARMOURED BRIGADE, the Battalion withdrew from ST PIERRE, and at 0500 hours arrived at CANDRY, some 2 miles SE of BAYEUX.
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