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himself by repeatedly carrying messages and ammunition forward to "C" Company under intense fire, and won the M.M. Pte Goddard, one of the stretcher bearers, also won the M.M. for showing great gallantry in attending to the large number of wounded in and around Battalion Headquarters under heavy fire. Pte Lewis, a stretcher-bearer with "C" Company, also showed great devotion to duty during the height of the action.

The enemy effort went on until 2230 hours, and as a result of this action the relief of the Battalion by the 5th East Yorkshires had to be postponed. A subsidiary counter-attack against "D" Company from the south-west appeared at one time imminent, but did not materialize. Similar reports came from "B" Company shortly after midnight, but their front, too, remained quiet. Meanwhile, "A" Company had been enjoying comparative immunity on the north-western corner of the "box", and they only saw one or two enemy patrols. A section under Cpl Noble dealt in a most satisfactory manner with one of these patrols, killing or capturing nearly all of the enemy.

By midday on the 12th June the Battalion was relieved by the 5th East Yorkshires and we started off to rejoin our own Brigade. We had occupied a post of honour in advance of the Normandy bridgehead for four days, and had been continuously engaged. It had been an exciting time, and our role with the 8th Armoured Brigade had been a great experience for everyone. The writer can do no better than quote the message sent to the 50th Division by Brigadier H.J.Cracroft, which was passed to us with the Divisional Commander's and our own Brigade Commander's congratulations: "1st Dorset, who have been under command for three days, left me to-day to return to their own brigade.

"I am very anxious to draw attention to the excellent work that this unit has carried out. At the time the unit joined me it had done considerable fighting after a very wet landing. In spite of this, no one showed signs of distress or fatigue. This speaks highly of their state of training,

"To the best of my knowledge this unit had never before been part of an armoured formation. In spite of this they immediately undertook the difficult task and the arduous task of assisting in a break-through and occupation of a position with completely exposed flanks some miles into enemy-occupied territory.

"Throughout the time the unit was with me, both officers and other ranks worked with the greatest of energy and showed the greatest dash, determination and steadiness in battle. In fact, the whole behaviour of the unit was exceptional. (Signed) H.J.B.CR. CROFT, Brigadier, Commanding 8th Armoured Brigade."

While we had been with the 8th Armoured Brigade the Devons and Hampshires of our own Brigade had eventually passed through the 56th Brigade at Bayeux and advanced south past St Andre. The whole of the 50th Division and 7th Armoured Division were pushing south in efforts to enlarge the bridgehead. So far as our own Brigade was concerned the Devons cleared Trungy and secured the cross roads at La Belle Epine by tho 12th June, but the enemy at La Senaudiere and south of La Belle Epine obviously intended to dispute any further advance. The Hampshires were unable to advance south from the high ground at Bernieres-Bocage. It was at this juncture that we rejoined the 231st Brigade.

(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

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

Page: Page 9