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The day for us had gone, with practically no amendments, absolutely "according to plan." Meanwhile, the writer had at last escaped from L.C.H. 317 and found a great assortment of troops and vehicles piling up on and around Les Roquettes. These included a proportion of the Battalion supporting arms such as anti-tank guns and elements of main Battalion Headquarters. The majority or our wounded were also being collected and tended there. All available bits and pieces of Support Company and Main Battalion Headquarters were then moved forward through Buhot; and the anti-tank guns were put in position to cover the main tank approaches along the valley of La Grande Riviere.

It was now about 1800 hours, and "B" Company were ordered up from Les Roquettes to Ryes, which had been taken by the Devons. The remainder of the Battalion reorganized as planned and moved into position at the southern end of the Point 54 feature. Battalion Headquarters found a most convenient series of dugouts, complete with double bunking, in the hillside just north of Ryes. Contact wes established with the Devons and patrols were arranged for the night. The Devons had quite a battle for Ryes, and it was late in the day before they were able to push on towards Longues. Actually, one company reached La Rosiere, but the bulk of the battalion remained in the Ryes area for the night.

By nightfall on D-day the 231st Brigade had good reason to be proud of its achievements. The Hampshires had completed a large part of their task, the Dorsets had completed the whole of theirs, and the Devons were ready to go for Longues and the link-up with the Americans. (The 47th Royal Marine Commando were eventually able to occupy some high ground north of Port-en-Bessin after a fight at La Rosiere.)

So ended a most memorable day. The German defences on the coast had been broken into and through, and very severe casualties had been inflicted on them in men and material. The German armour had not yet appeared on the scene, and the bridgehead was in process of being expanded and strengthened as more troops and material landed; the 56th Brigade passed through our Brigade, the 151st Brigade passed through the 69th, and the remainder of 8th Armoured Brigade was being landed. Unfortunately the cost had been heavy, and the loss in leaders at all levels was particularly serious, and this was to be felt increasingly in the days to come. The Battalion lost 14 officers and 114 other ranks on D-day, and among them were many gallant Dorsets who had been through Malta, Sicily and Italy. Lieut D.D. Youngs, the Intelligence Officer, who had worked so hard in the planning stage before D-day, and Lieut C.Bradbury ("D" Company),who had joined the Battalion at Fawley, were among those killed. When the writer met an officer of the Essex Yeomanry (147th Field Regiment) in March, 1945, just before the Rhine Crossing, he was told that the magnificent dash of the assault battalions had never, in this gunner officer's opinion, been equalled; and the Essex Yeomanry had since D-day, co-operated with most formations in the Second Army.

(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

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Archive: NORMANDY 1st Bn The Dorsetshire Regiment (an extract from "Three Assault Landings")

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