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- Major Matthew Guymer MBE and many others
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- 09 August 2005
C and D Sqdns had been in action, carrying out dangerous patrols during that first push to Villers bocage on 12th and 13th June. The patrols included the areas of Briquessard, La Paumerie, Livre, Cahagnes, Tilly sur Seulles, and the deathly village of St Germain d'Ectot.
This proved to have been a busy time for everyone. The enemy put in a counter attack; and our advance was halted. Everyone had a hard time and had many casualties and by the evening the enemy had caused 7th Armd Dev to contract into a defensive box nicknamed the 'Island'. 5th RHA firing over open gun sights using classical defensive fire halted the enemy counter attack, which they called off and so saved those in the box. On the 14th the regiment was once more in the thick of it and it was decided to pull 7th Amd Div back to Briquesard. Later during the night 'D' Sqdn was sent to Gueron near Bayeux. On the way Mr Newton's DAC (3TpLdr) ran over an MP and wrecked his M/C, he wasn't hurt but he swore a lot. Mostly because he could not reach his kit strapped to the underside of his bike. The next morning the Guns finally caught up with our Sqdns.
The names of the towns and villages fought in during those early days particularly St Germain d'Ectot will not be forgotten because of the casualties we sustained and the new bitter experience we learned patrolling in Bocage country.
I listened intently to the horrifying stories of close bocage country warfare, of troops who expended every single round of their small arms ammunition in a morning and of enemy snipers and artillery who 'didn't play fair when your only weapon to fight back with was a shovel'.
After a short break the regiment was soon back in action again but this time each Sqdn had the support of its gun troop, which was a morale booster as well as a bonus. I was bloodied during the time we were sent to the area in and around Cahagnes and Tilly Sur Seulles for the battle when we finally took Villers Bocage. On the way the guns proved themselves and most definitely earned their keep by causing many enemy casualties.
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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