- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Derrick Jewell, Max Somerhayes
- Location of story:
- Ranville and Honfleur, Normandy
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 10 June 2004
This story was submitted to the People's War site by Somerset Libraries, Arts and Information on behalf of Derrick Jewell and has been added to the site with his permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.
Persons in story: Derrick Jewell, Max Somerhayes
I joined the army in November 1943 when I was 17. I did medical training at Fleet and was then posted to the 195th Airlanding Fields Ambulance, 6th Airborne Division at Bulford camp. There I trained as a blood transfusion orderly.
On the evening of 6th June I was in the airborne landings in Normandy. I travelled in a Horsa glider with 20 men, a jeep and a trailer full of medical supplies. Our orders were to set up an advanced dressing station. When we landed in Normandy we lost one 18-year-old soldier and a sergeant was wounded in the back. We landed between two trees and the glider smashed into pieces. We got the jeep and trailer out and found that we were approximately two miles from Pegasus Bridge. We made our way to the bridge and ran across it as fast as we could as it was still under fire from German troops. We made our way to the village of Ranville and set up a forward medical station (which latter became a hospital). For a long time we were under fire from German mortar bombs. Two days after we arrived a German tank came within 100 yards of us but seeing the Red Cross flags on the station it turned away.
During this time a young French girl was brought into the station who gave birth to a little boy. He must be 60 years old now. At the field centre I met a man from Street in Somerset, my home town. I think his name was Max Somerhayes and he had been wounded in a British tank.
Later some of us were formed into another medical advance station and we took part in the liberation of Honfleur. A lot of English and German soldiers came in wounded. In September 1945 we returned to Bulford Camp by way of the Mulberry Harbour.
We finished the war in Germany with the airbourne assault across the river Rhine, ending up at Wismar on the Baltic coast where we met the Russian Army. I finished my service in Jerusalem in 1947.
I am now the Chairman of the Street Twinning Association linking England, France and Germany.
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