Page 279 - The Rifles Bugle Autumn 2019
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      German strong points from 1944 still seen on the beaches around Ver-sur-Mer
suffered an approximate casualty rate of 30%. The fallen are to be found in the CWGC’s Cemeteries of Tilley-sur-Seulles; Jerusalem; Hottot les Bagues and Bayeux, all of which were visited during my stay.
On 9th June, starting at the water tower just outside the village of Audrieu, I walked to the village of St Pierre. The tower being the exact spot the 8th Bn. DLI started from as they attacked the village, 9th June 1944. Many years ago Ian English, who had fought in the battle, took a group of us on a guided tour around the village and his words were very much in my mind as I walk the same streets that the Bn. fought over all those years ago.
Finally on June 14th, I covered the very ground where the attacks on Verrieres and Lingevres by 6th and 9th Bn.’s DLI respectively had taken place – exactly 75yrs later to the very day. Having spoken to and shared the company of many men who fought in the battle, the morning was full of reminiscence and regret that none of them are still with us to share their experiences. However at the same time being gladdened that by knowing them, their experiences can be passed to present and future generations. Walking along quiet country lanes, with the sun shining, birds singing and corn ripening in the fields it was impossible to imagine the scene that must have occurred all those years ago with numerous men being cut down by machine gun fire as they
crossed those very fields while advancing towards the two villages.
Overall the visit was memorable, thought provoking and enjoyable. As mentioned earlier, due to the very age of the D-Day veterans this will have been their last great gathering in significant numbers and it was a privilege to have been in attendance to witness the events.
After the commemorations, I stayed in Normandy for a few days, with the intention of following the route taken by three DLI Bns of 151 Brigade from landing on Gold Beach to reaching the area of Tilly- sur-Seulles. Having taken with me the Regimental Diaries for June 1944, I was able to follow exactly the route taken by each of the Bns as they made their way inland. Some of these villages they passed through being so small it is quite probably that the last time anyone from Durham had visited them was in fact 75 years ago!
One highlight being the walk along the entire length of Gold Beach from Ver-sur-Mer to Asnelles. Today the beach shows little sign of the frantic activity which must have occurred all those years ago, with all the debris of war having been cleared long ago. However by looking carefully among the sand dunes, the odd remnants of German strong points can still be found.
Clive Bowery DLI Association
DLI D-Day Veterans in 2004, now all deceased: L to R: Dickie Atkinson, Ken Lodge, Maj Ian English MC**, Charles Eagles, Earnest Harvey
  Gold Beach Remembered on 75th Anniversary
 Ron Cooper from Australia pays homage to his uncle from 9DLI, Pte George W Smith Kia 14 June1944
      “For Our Tomorrow, They Gave Their Today”

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