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Their role as infantry must have been unpleasantly driven home to the parachute troops as they proceeded through pouring rain along a road that was being shelled heavily. No contact was made with the retreating enemy until the evening. While the Brigade administrative area was established at LE BOURG (3174) at 1800 hrs, 8 Para Bn pushed forward to capture ANNEBAULT, and 1 Cdn Para Bn swung, north to engage a resistance point on high ground at LA VALLEE TANTOT (4001). The Canadians encountered fire from 81-mm mortars and S.P. guns, and, unable to make further progress, dug in for the night. By morning the enemy had retreated, and the Battalion returned to the main road at ANNEBAULT, rejoining the other brigade units half-a-mile west of LA HAIE TONDUE (4501) at 1000 hrs (22 Aug).

31.  It was now 3 Para Bde's turn to halt while 5 Para Bde pushed through to PONT-L'ÉVEQUE. For 48 hour's 1 Cdn Para Bn rested, while all personnel took advantage of the respite to do their washing and generally prepare themselves for further action. On 23 Aug Lt.-Gen. K. Stuart, Chief of Staff, visited the unit, and Lt.-Col. Bradbrooke relinquished command, to take a staff appointment (G.S.O. I, (Air) 38 Group R.A.F.). For a short period Maj. (now Lt.-Col.). G. F. Eadie acted as Officer Commanding, and on 8 Sep 44, Lt.-Col. J. A. Nicklin assumed the command.

32.  On 24. Aug First Can Army sent the following warning order to 1 Brit Corps:

S.D. 45, Warning Order. 6 Airborne Div will be prepared to move into 21 Army Gp res afternoon 30 Aug. Further instr follow later date. All infm.

(W.D., G.S., S.D., First Can Army, ług 44, Appx 275.)

The message is significant in pointing to the approaching end of 6 Airborne Div's role in First Cdn Army's rapid drive eastwards across NORMANDY. The Army's main axis of advance was swinging more and more sharply towards the north, as First U.S. Army came up from the south, moving in upon the enemy's last precarious foothold on the left bank of the SEINE at ELBEUF (1298). As the narrowing front moved forward, 6 Airborne Div's sector on the left flank of 1 Brit Corps, and therefore on the extreme left of the entire 21 Army Gp, had developed into a diminishing triangle whose forward apex ran into the sea at the mouth of the SEINE. It seemed that only a few more days would be required for the airborne units to complete their task.

33.  While the units of 3 Para Bde rested between ANNEBAULT and LA HAIE TONDUE, other formations of 6 Airborne Div had forced their way across the TOUQUES River in two places. 5. Para Bde, after overcoming stiff opposition at PONT-L'EVÊQUE, was on the morning of 24 Aug, well along the road to ST. BENOIT-D'HEBERTOT (5806),while 6 Airlanding Bde, which since 17 Aug had been making its way steadily along the coastal flank, followed closely by the Belgian Group, was now over the river and into BONNEVILLESUR-TOUQUES (4810). It was time for further leap-frogging.

34.  At 1000 hrs on 22 Aug 1 Cdn Para Bn took to the road again, as 3 Para Bde swung north to make a wide sweep around PONT-L'EVEQUE and to follow 6 Airlanding Bde across the TOUQUES River at BONNEVILLE-SUR-TOUQUES. For the first five miles the unit had a welcome relief from marching as lorries carried them as far as VAUVILLE (4207). Then the Canadians marched on east

(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

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Archive: The 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion in France (6 June - 6 September 1944)

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