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Reggie's War

by bestruralbus(iw)

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People in story: 
L/Cpl.Reggie Moore
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Contributed on: 
02 August 2004


Reggie Moore sailed from Tilbury Docks for Normandy on 9th June 1944.
He had been in the Army since 26th March 1942 when he was called up at the age of 19yrs. After qualifying as a driver he was then posted to A Platoon 257 (6th Ambulance Car) Company , R A S C . He was to remain with A Platoon throughout the war.

We spent a noisy night on board ship anchored off the French coast under heavy enemy air attack., he recalls. At first light we were allowed on deck and sighted Spitfires roaring across the Channel towards enemy territory… a reassuring sight ! “I heard a voice shout “Reg” and looked up to see the brother of one of my work colleagues manning a Bofors gun.

During the morning of June 11th we landed on Gold Beach at Arromanches and proceeded in convoy through the town to Bayeux.
We took up our position adjacent to a field occupied by men of the Black Watch preparing to go into battle that night. Throughout that moonlit night we could hear the sounds of the furious battle for Caen..
Orders were received to prepare to evacuate wounded from the medical centre to Dakota aircraft waiting on an airstrip near Bayeux. As we approached we came under heavy shellfire. I reversed my ambulance to back-up to the open entrance of one of the Dakotas ready to transfer my five stretcher cases. Then enemy shells began to rain down on the airstrip causing two aircraft to crash. Under orders I left the airstrip with my stretcher cases to return them to the medical centre. One of them was a young RAF pilot who had baled out after his aircraft had been hit, but he had had to have a leg amputated.
After the breakout by the Allies at Falaise, I accompanied our platoon officer on a reconnaissance of the area. Here we witnessed horrific scenes of carnage with the stench of smouldering vehicles and a trail of many human corpses and animals lying in fields.

His unit moved on to Holland where they enjoyed a brief sojourn in civilian billets before moving up to the area around Arnhem, where his unit was cut off and troops were engaged in heavy fighting for the crossing of the Rhine. Reg’s unit was engaged in ferrying both Allied and German wounded from the front to the medical centres, frequently under sniper fire and shelled bottlenecks.

“I arrived on German soil on 26th March 1945 .. three years to the day that I had reported to Bulford Barracks to begin my army service” he says.
Entering Belsen concentration camp I saw scenes of such terror, desolation and human tragedy I never expected to witness. Our task was to ferry those who had survived the ordeal to civilian hospitals.”

A much happier occasion during Reg’s time in Germany was a chance meeting with his brother Les whom he spotted on guard duty with another army unit.

Reg, who originates from Caterham, Surrey, now lives in Newport with his wife Daphne, whom he met while stationed in St. Ives, near Huntington, Cambridgeshire during the war. They have been married 55 years and have two daughters, three grandchildren and two great grandchildren.


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