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Father's autobiographie - Normandie - La Guerre de mon pere


Le 6 juin 1944, 6 divisions d'infanterie débarquent sur 5 plages précédées par 3 divisions aéroportées.
Dès le 7 juin, c'est la bataille de Normandie qui commence et qui ne s'achèvera que le 29 aout.
MODÉRATEUR: Jumbo

Father's autobiographie - Normandie - La Guerre de mon pere

Nouveau message Post Numéro: 1  Nouveau message de paulcheall  Nouveau message 24 Oct 2010, 18:02

I beg you pardon I do not speak French ..

Members May Be Interested in this account of My Father's War Which I Have just finished editing. More details of The Diary / journal are at http://www.grimdetermination.co.uk/.
 
Thank you!

Paul

Looking around us We Could See Other assault craft Taking station at EACH side of us. The sea was very choppy to the Light WAS now and Improving The Whole mighty operation Became visible to us - and what a sight it WAS. The mind "could not absorb The Enormity of it all. There Were Thousands of ships of all sizes and, standing out like huge sentinels, The mighty war ships. Nobody could "vividly describe what a Tremendous opportunity It Was, to see All That power, It Would Never Be seen again In Our Lifetime - So Many ships in one place at one time. If the British people THEY Could Have Seen It Would Have Been Very Proud.
The sky Seemed to Be full of flat, bombers, Hurricanes, Spitfires and others I Could not Recognise, hundred of 'em going Towards Our target for the Day.
Enormous power Surrounded us all to come to it "could" nothing If The infantrymen failed at The First Hurdle. Failure Was Not In Our vocabulary Gold In Our Thoughts on this day, a memorable day in The History of the World. The 6th June 1944 Will Go Into the history books.
The Other assault craft in the line with us, and in The Hands of competent helmsmen, sped Towards the beach and very soon Through a slight drizzle, We Could See the coastline, Rommel's Atlantic Wall. Warships Were The shilling fortifications And The Sound Of The Above Us shells flying WAS uncanny, great flashes Were coming from the gun barrels and read the Morning Sky.
We Were now making full use of Our sick bags to "could" still manage to See What Was Going On Around Us, nobody wanted to miss this great opportunity. Then shells started "coming Towards us; The Enemy Seemed To Be Going For The ships not us And They Created great spouts of water When They hit the sea. Now We Could see bombs falling from our plane fighters and skimming low above-the enemy defenders. An amazing sight Suddenly Opened up to the port side of us about Five Hundred yards away. It Was a rocket ship Which feels a continuous barrage of missiles screaming, dead straight Towards the coast, it was fantastic goal I Should not Imagine That The Enemy On The Receiving End Would describe it so.
We Were getting near now & the defense machine guns Opened up, a landing craft next to us Suddenly Slowed Down; The helmsman must have Been hit by a bullet. Swiftly, somebody Took over control to the Boat WAS now has little out of line With The Other assault craft and I saw it hit a mine, and blown to pieces WAS. The enemy fire made us Keep Our Heads Down And All We Could Do WAS Watch the umbrella of planar Above Us, The Noise WAS terrific, There Is Nothing I Can compare it with, "to try and Convey to You the Enormity of it all.
It Seemed to Be a hell of a long way to the beach, Then peeping just above-the top of Our craft I Saw Another boat hit a mine, it was awful, The Front Half Of The boat WAS Lifted Out of the water and smashed to Smithereens, bodies and pieces of body flying in all directions. The stern half of the Boat Went just "under the water. All Those boys, laden as They Were, Would not Have Stood year earthly chance of survival.
We Were getting near to The Shore and, Suddenly, The helmsman shouted at the top of His Voice "100 to go, 75 to go, all ready, 50 to go!" The enemy machine guns Were Giving the lads Some stick. "Ramp down!" and in Three Feet of Water, The craft stopped dead. Our platoon command shouted "Come on lads! And We've Moved fast as We Could, I Can Tell You. It Was No Fun Being a sitting target and the Water Being waist deep made it very difficult. Two of the lads As They Went forward Into boiling water jumped And They Went Under With All Their gear, I dare say THEY Would Fight Like Hell to recover and We Were not hanging about, That HAD beens o instructions from the Start, We Must not linger.
I Was Told That Two lads Who jumped Into the water after I HAD Been hit by gunfire.
It Was impossible for me to Keep the mortar to dry The Six bombs Would Be OK In Their sealed container. Keeping as low as possible Was The Right Thing To Do In The Process to We Were To The skin soaked from head to foot, Who cared so long as WE got away safely. It Was Quite a heavy drizzle and now it Continued Until about 1600hrs. Fortunately, With Our exertions o clothes soon dried out, anyway We Had More Important Things to think about personal comfort n o WAS of little consequence.
A flail tank HAD gone Into the assault on King Beach Before us to make a path Through the Minefield Along Which ran behind the Beach. Unfortunately by, It Had Been Knocked Out and WAS standing on the beach about ten yards from the sand dunes. The crew bailed out and HAD HAD Continued, under fire, to make a path across-the minefield and HAD taped it. Our old company command, Captain Hull, HAVING Been Promoted to Major, WAS ship signal was and Keeping in Touch With proceedings. We now Had a new CO, Captain Linn, tragically he was very soon on the run Wounded up the beach. I SAW HIM resting With His Back Against the tank and while I'm his position He Was Received a second Which Proved fatal wound. He Was Such A Good Man. The second in command, Captain Chambers, now Took over and he too intended Wounded WAS WAS Able to carry on His Duties. At This Time We Lost Sergeant Burns goal I Never Did Get to Know How Many Others Were Killed Actually on the beach.
Just as I Looked at Captain Linn o Took control platoon command, "get off the beach - off the beach, off the bloody beach, get forward and lads Give the buggers hell!" It Was Difficult to make too much haste In The soft sand purpose, by a supreme effort, week ran Up the slope Towards the sand banks in the face of heavy enemy fire. Dead and Wounded But The lads lay around stretcher bearers Were Always close at hand to take care of 'em. They Were brigs, Those medics.
I'll tell you what, We Did not look back; The situation didn't allow it to now I wish I Had the presence of mind to turn around to see the Navy in action.
O After all haste and determination and about fifty Taking Prisoners, There wasn't a great deal of opposition after We Had left the beach, though There Was Some machine gun fire and Always the sniper, looking to kill o officers. We Had Some Prisoners taken and, of course, Killed Many of the Enemy.
D Company is Our Right, WAS Held up by machine gun fire from a pill box & the Sergeant Major Stan Hollis, brave Man That He Was, Rushed zigzag over open ground and hand grenades Threw Through the aperture and killed the enemy. Stan Hollis won The Victoria Cross Awarded only on D Day, Howard Green was true to the core. Stan's quote Said That he saved The Lives of Many of His comrades by historical action.
We Moved forward warily now, Keeping to Hedgerow Whenever possible. We Never Knew When danger Threatened, Marksmen Usually, Because up to now We Had not seen year enemy tank.
The make-up of the Country to change very Started Quickly and We Were Confronted by a situation not seen Before We Had, It Was Called The grove, Which all small fields HAD 'v' shaped Ditches' em around. The Earth From The Ditches Formed a bank and on top of The Banker, Hedgerow HAD Been planted. It Was ideal country for defensive positions to Be Set Up to disadvantageous to Attackers.
We Met Some stubborn resistance about three miles inland; The Enemy Were putting down heavy machine gun fire from a small wood and We Could not get around it. Then We Saw Something new to us - the OC HAD got a message over the air That With The result was Churchill tank cam up in no time at all. It Went Towards the wood and cam Under anti tank fire, whereupon it retaliated as quick as a flash. It Was a flame tank and it Throwing a shot huge tongue of flame Towards the wood and fried The Enemy Who HAD Been holding us up, bet it Was a bit hot!
Daylight WAS drawing to a close and Our company cam to rest in a corner of one of the Fields With The Other in-line company's. We Were here to rest for the night and adequate sentra HAD Been placed. The platoon order Walked Amongst Us; he Knew us all by name and WAS singing Praises to us all, how well done and all We Had The Usual Things. Most Were platoon officers first class and well liked by the lads, cracking jokes with us Even. After he left us sat in twos and weekends threes and proceeded to dig Into Our packs for Something to Eat. We cam across Something else new to us, It Was A tin of ready meal Which WAS self heating, all We Had to do a WAS ring pull and, hey presto, after a few "minutes We had a hot meal, it was great. Then, of course, chocolate We Had In Our emergency pack.
We Had Thoroughly dried out by now and more comfortable Felt so proceeded to organize somewhere to sleep, or try to.
Taking Our ground sheet from our pack weekends and spread it out, using pack o Once More as a pillow, covered Ourselves With The gas cap and really slept Because We Should Have for Three nights sleep HAD evaded us. I closed my eyes as I lay on my back and Prayed to Jesus.
"The day thou gavest Lord Is Ended, The darkness falls at thy behest, to thee o Ascended morning hymn, thy praise shall" Sanctify o rest. "
Of course this Is The First Verse of hymn number 667 in The Methodist hymn book.
Then I Said To Myself "O Lord grant thats the Souls of Our Fallen Comrades Who Have Given all in battle rest in Peace with thee in heaven, watch over us in the Days to Come." I ended With The Lord's Prayer.
I Felt Better and Drifted Into a restless sleep.
Me at Alexandria, Egypt, May 1943 S.jpg
Me at Alexandria, Egypt, May 1943 S.jpg (87.39 Kio) Vu 1751 fois


 

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Re: Father's autobiographie - Normandie - La Guerre de mon p

Nouveau message Post Numéro: 2  Nouveau message de alberto  Nouveau message 20 Mai 2011, 10:44

Hello ! Many thanks for this report from the middle of the action !

Your sincerly.
"Mépriser l'art de la guerre c'est faire le premier pas vers la ruine." (Machiavel)

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Re: Father's autobiographie - Normandie - La Guerre de mon p

Nouveau message Post Numéro: 3  Nouveau message de Prosper Vandenbroucke  Nouveau message 20 Mai 2011, 11:50

Hello Paul,
Many thanks for this topic.
Many of our members doesn't understand the english language, but with a good translator it must not be difficult to understood the whole text.
Kindly regards
Prosper ;)

P.S. Je sais que langue principale du forum est le français, mais étant donné les difficultés de Paul pour écrire dans la langue de Molière, il nous à déposé ici un texte concernant la participation de son père durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale.
Je lui ai simplement répondu que je le remerciais pour sa participation et bien que de nombreux membres ne maîtrisent pas la langue anglaise, un bon outil de traduction fera en sorte que son texte sera compréhensible pour beaucoup.
L'Union fait la force -- Eendracht maakt macht

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Re: Father's autobiographie - Normandie - La Guerre de mon p

Nouveau message Post Numéro: 4  Nouveau message de alberto  Nouveau message 21 Mai 2011, 14:36

Oui, Prosper :

En poursuivant mes ballades sue le forum, j'ai constaté que ce gars avait adressé une compte-rendu finalement assez saisissant de ce qu'avait vécu son père lors du débarquement.

Sans autre commentaire des visiteurs du forum, j'ai cru sympa de lui faire savoir que son texte avait été lu et apprécié...

Tu en as remis une couche, c'est encore mieux !

Bien à toi. :)
"Mépriser l'art de la guerre c'est faire le premier pas vers la ruine." (Machiavel)

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Re: Father's autobiographie - Normandie - La Guerre de mon p

Nouveau message Post Numéro: 5  Nouveau message de Prosper Vandenbroucke  Nouveau message 21 Mai 2011, 14:41

Merci à toi Alberto,
Je n'ai mis en ligne ce qui me semblait parfaitement normal.
Paul nous livre de très bons témoignages.
Amicalement
Prosper ;)
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