- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Major Matthew Guymer MBE and many others
- Location of story:
- France, Belgium
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 09 August 2005
It was on the 21st of August that 4h Tp was embroiled in a suicidal attack from the nearby forest by a unit of the 'Hitler Youth'. For the next four days our Guns were in constant demand causing considerable damage and large numbers of casualties. We found it hard to keep up sometimes and at one time we pushed on 30 miles in one day. We fired so much ammunition that we had to have daily replenishment. Although the Germans were retreating it did not mean that they were disorganised. On several occasions we were able to lay our guns on to targets that were in full view so that both Gun Sgts were able to shoot over open sights. Morale was high because we were on our way to finishing the war.
The Sqdn then patrolled and fought our way down to Evreux and on to Louviers where we crossed the Seine and soon we were in action again from La Feuille. On the 2nd of September we crossed the Somme and patrolled through Bernaville, Doullens and spent the night in Nuncq before making our way the next day to Mazingarbe. On the 4th Sept., we moved at speed through Meurchin, Carvin, and Seclan and Templemars and we were quickly on the outskirts of Lille.
Sgt Wilf Luke MM, TP Ldr 5th Tp was the first Tp to reach the City centre and was seriously held up by the population. His reception was one of considerable excitement and the crowd was ecstatic and happy to be liberated. He cars became covered in flowers and the crowd hemmed each car in them everyone enjoyed incredible 'hospitality and refreshment'. The Sqdn had to wait for 5th Tp from the City. The complete Squadron, waited all afternoon in Lille until last light and then as night fell we left France and motored into Belgium. The 5th September was when we caught up with the Regiment at Oudenaarde. We were now at the beginning of a different and new war experience.
Thanks goodness, no sandy beach to invade, no dreaded bocage country, not so much terrible sorrow caused by witnessing the appalling devastation of those beautiful cities and towns we saw in France. I doubted if I would ever again see a sight like to massacre that I witnessed at Falaise.
How wrong can one be? Belsen was on the Centre Line of 7th Armrd Div fighting through Germany. 'D' Squadron lead the 7th Armrd Div into the devastated City of Hamburg. The 11th Hussars (Prince Albert's Own) was the first British regiment to enter the ruins of Berlin.
This story was submitted to the People's War site by Sue Russell of the BBC on behalf of Major Matthew Guymer MBE and has been added to the site with his permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.
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