I was told to dismount from my carrier, by an infantry Sgt. and go to the
back door of the farmhouse, informing me that after he placed a hand Grenade
through the front door, any Germans that were left would come out of the back
door and would run on to my bayonet. Heart thumping I ran to the back door. I
could feel the heat of a burning haystack on my back.
I looked around and at that moment a German came out of the door like a hare. Taken by surprise, I chased him at full speed with rifle and bayonet out stretched in front of me. In the heat of the moment I did not realise that there was a 10ft.wall around the yard. The German stopped at the wall and turned, but at the speed I was running I could not stop. The bayonet went into him and as it struck the wall I was brought to a sudden stop, our faces nearly touching. For a few moments we stared at each other, his eyes glazed as he slowly sank to the ground.
I stood looking at him as the bayonet came away, a gurgling noise from his throat, I knew he was dead. I walked away and sat on a box, crying and sick, not knowing for how long. I felt a hand on my shoulder and the voice of Sgt Major Parks saying, "come on son you will get used to that before this war is over". How right he was!
Two years later killing Germans did not worry me, but I still remember those eyes.
After a long battle we entered POPERINGE. German shelling was very heavy so it was decided to move to CROMBEKE.
At this point the Germans were racing towards PROVEN with the intent of cutting us off, so we made our dash to STAVELE.
Here we stood our ground holding the German advance, on successive days, from the 23rd May, at FLEURBAIX we had fought our way to the LA LYS CANAL. Then 24th May to CASSEL and on to LE NIEPPE and CLAIRMARAIS, 25th May we were at ARMENTTIERES.
On the 26th May we were off to KEMMEL holding ground at PLOEGSTEEN.
On 28th May we attacked German motorbike troops. 29th May at YPES, POPERINGE and at STAVELE we held the Germans until the 30th May. There had been no sleep for anyone in 10 days. That night everyone managed to get a few hours sleep before the next morning.
We took up our positions at GHYVELDE on the 31st May. Our orders were to hold our position until all the ammo had been used, then destroy the tanks and make our way to BRAY DUNES.
At this points the roads were blocked with lorries that were on fire with black smoke everywhere. We were in the act of destroying our tanks when out of the smoke came a regiment of the guards in full marching order. The RSM said "bring those tanks along with us, we are going to hold the line". I said to him," we have been fighting rear guard actions since the Germans invaded, where do we get petrol and ammunition?" He looked at us and said "Yes lads you look as though you have had a rough time, good luck when you get to DUNKIRK."
We watched him with his regiment march through the smoke and out of sight.