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- 02 June 2004
The regiment was assembled on June 4th in the New Forest at Lyndhurst two weeks before the invasion. On June 5th we were sent to Southhampton and embarked on SS Manivar. The sea was very rough, so we had to stand anchored of the Isle of Wight until further orders. During the night of the 6th June we sailed in a huge convoy of invasion ships. We had a U boat alert but thankfully nothing happened. At 6 am there was a terrific gun barrage and we were required to scramble down the nets into small infantry assualt craft. We were some way from the shore and the sea was quite rough everyone suffering badly from seasickness. After about an hour we were ordered to get out into the sea, I remember thinking we were to far out and I was a non swimmer. The water was up to my neck and if I had fallen over the weight of my pack and equipment I would surely have drowned. I remember my mate who was over 6 feet tall putting his hand under my pack and helping me to shallow water. All the time the terrible barrage of gunfire, motors, machine guns and aircraft overhead. There were terrified soldiers all around me floating in the sea. At the beach I ran as fast as I could, how I was not wounded or killed was a miracle, one of my nine lives gone already. Further up the beach we assembled for our first battle and headed on for Bayeux. This was the start of a very long and frightening day one of many that I was to experience as we marched on to Villers Bocage,Caen, Falaise Gap, Le Havre into Belgium and Holland.
By October we had reached the Rhine and I used to pinch myself everyday I could not believe my luck that I had survived all the horrors I had been through and I knew it could not last. Sure enough on the 19th October 1944 we were street fighting. We went through into a narrow passage, the Germans had it ranged out as usual and dropped a shell at each end. Two of the seven of us survived although badly wounded.
I endured a very painful few months, I was twenty and felt very old and weary also very humble when I thought of my comrads that did not make it.
I was 17 years old when I joined up because I thought of the excitement of seeing the world, I would have been called up anyway, I cannot say that I enlisted for any patriotic reason.
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