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Archive List > World > France

Contributed by 
CSV Action Desk/BBC Radio Lincolnshire
People in story: 
Raymond Cotton
Location of story: 
France
Background to story: 
Royal Navy
Article ID: 
A5200967
Contributed on: 
19 August 2005

I signed up in Romford Essex in 1943

I trained at Limpstone in Devon as a marine.
I then volunteered for the Commandos and did intensive training in North Wales.

We sailed from Southampton for Normanby we were heavily sniped before landing, we eventually had to abandon the landing craft and wade in waist deep, the sea was horrendously rough. Once ashore we hid under the sea wall until we assumed it to be clear and then moved inland. We had to hide in ditches where German aircraft machine gunning was very low.
We fought daily and at night until we reached our destination liberation villages as we went.

We lived in slit trenches in the ground. Totally food self sufficient, mostly stealing and generally living off the land.

The French people helped us if they had food to spare.

Our wishing facilities were primitive we had one biscuit tin of water between five people (it was wonderful to be the first) despite the lack of facilities we as Commandos kept as much pride and respect as was (possible and always managed to keep clean and presentable.

Because of the way we travelled, obscure and a lot at night we had to dispose of our greatcoats and tin hats leaving us vulnerable but wearing out green berets with pride.

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