|Title||NORMANDY 1st Bn The Dorsetshire Regiment (an extract from "Three Assault Landings")|
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To return to the advance of "C" and "D" Companies on Point 54. The former company almost immediately co-operated with a company of the Hampshires to overcome enemy resistance in Asnelles, and it was in this action that Lieut J.Hamilton distinguished himself in command of No. 15 Platoon. Both companies then continued the advance across very open country to Buhot (known at the time as "Boohoo") beyond which the ground rose steeply to Point 54. A good deal of fire was brought to bear on the two companies, and there was a steady trickle of casualties. These included Lieut J.A.Thomas, second-in-command of "D" Company, who was wounded. C.S.M. O'Connell, of "D" Company, showed outstanding initiative and courage in the way in which he kept the men going; and Cpl Thanpson, MM, of "C" Company, not only led the advance to Point 54 with his section, but was largely instrumental in beating off a counterattack which developed later. It should be mentioned before going further that "D" Company, pushing south through Buhot (which was reached in the early afternoon),captured a company of German pioneers with their transport.
It was found that the high ground at Point 54 was held by the enemy much more strongly than had originally been supposed, and fresh defences round Point 54 itself had recently been constructed. In addition, as it turned out, the German 352nd Infantry Division had just moved up in support of the Coastal Division. The Commanding Officer now organized an attack on the lines of the original plan by "C" and "D" Companies on Point, 54. The greater share of the fighting fell to "C" Company, who continued to be most ably led by Major Nicoll (for his gallantry and his outstanding services this day Major Nicoll was awarded a very well-deserved M.C.). Several Germans were killed, and 2 officers and 15 other ranks taken prisoner. The Company then took up positions to cover the attack on the strong point of Puits d'Herode.
"D" Company assaulted the enemy positions now confronting us most gallantly, but although they overran several posts (which included anti-tank guns) in a wood between Point 54 and Puits d'Herode, the latter position eluded their grasp. The Company had suffered heavy casualties and had done extremely well under their commander, Major W.N.Hayes (who was awarded the M.C. for his courage and determination during this fighting). Pte Harvey, of No 16 Platoon, sacrificed himself while carrying an important message to his platoon commander; Cpl Hawkins won the M.M. for his leadership of No 18 Platoon when both his platoon commander (Lieut T.S.Lancaster and Platoon Serjeant had been killed; L/Cpl Miller, of No 17 Platoon whose leadership of his section and whose individual gallantry helped greatly in the capture of the wood and earned for himself the M.M. - these are merely some of the many Dorsets who performed brave deeds in the fighting for the high ground at Point 54.
The Commanding Officer then launched "A" Company supported by "C" Squadron of the Sherwood Rangers (who had by now arrived on the scene) and covered by the fire of "C" and "D" Companies, to take the Puits d'Herode locality. Covering fire was also given by the 90th Field Regiment, whose commanding officer, Lieut-Colonel I.G.G.S. Hardie, was with Tac Battalion Headquarters. This attack, well led by Captain Royle, succeeded; many of the enemy were killed, and a further forty put "in the bag." Serjt Terry distinguished himself by overcoming personally the resistance of part of the locality, and receiving the surrender of a large proportion of the enemy. It was during this attack by "A" Company that a party of the enemy attempted to counter-attack "C" Company in flank. The Germans were, however, quickly disposed of by a party under Captain R. W. Tucker, M.C., the company second-in-command (who was well supported by Cpl Thompson, mentioned earlier in this connection)
For the Battalion it was now "all over bar the shouting." The final attack by "A" and "C” Companies on the enemy enemy battery position (four 155 mm. guns) found that the enemy gunners had already pulled out and abandoned everything.
(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)