Things were quiet in the afternoon, so we moved to take a position
overlooking PEGASUS BRIDGE to support the 6th airborne that German tanks were
We repelled the Germans. Then I had to take up a forward position 300yds by the bridge. At the side of bridge was a small café, over my radio came the voice of my troop officer Lt. Otley ." Barnes would you like a cup of coffee" looking back I saw him with a cup, and a big smile on his face, he then said "hard lines" I never did get that coffee. I thought some day I would go back for that coffee. Lt. Otley was a good officer and a good friend.
(30 years later I tried to contact him, I learnt he had died from a blood clot on his brain. Sgt. Haygarth another great friend had also died.)
During the day we sent off field post cards to home, letting our family know we were ok.
We had a look around the German stronghold MORRIS as they had left in a hurry
Maps, photos etc were scattered all over the place. We stayed there then new tanks and crews arrived to build up battered squadrons. We were in the harbour that night, my crew was looking after 3 prisoners that had been captured. During the night they looked terrible, so I told my crew to give them some hot soup from a can (this was done by putting a lighted cigarette to the top of the can, instant hot soup)! My gunner wasn't too keen - after what we had gone through they weren't top of his list.
At 12 o'clock we were watching flares lighting up the sky, a young chap came along asking for me, his name was J. Banks, a replacement for my front gunner. Sorry to say he was killed a few weeks later aged 18.
The attack on BREVILLE is one I shall never forget. We moved fast as, in the wood, there were anti tanks guns, which destroyed a number of our tanks, and 3rd commandos were mode down. Green Berries were lying all over the field. On my right flank, bodies and what was left of the German infantry. I had a job with my driver to run over parts of humans, but one could not stop as there was too many anti tank guns firing at us, after the battle we took a 'Stand To' position and the smell was terrible. Tank crew took it in turn to flush out some enemy infantry that was making it awkward for men of the Black Watch as the surrounding area was high grass and wooded. On the other side was open ground with small edges, just the place for 8mm gun. I decided the best attack was to go in fast, so I gave order to my driver to put his foot down, but he was reluctant to move fast. I think BREVILLE was still on his mind, because his excuse was the engine was not responding. After we had cleared the infantry, I said to my driver " the Commander in the turret can see all around but you drivers can only see straight ahead, and the slower he went the easier it was for the 88mm anti tank guns to spot us". I must say I had no trouble after that little talk.
Tank crews are not happy to be up on the front line at night, the infantry don't like us near them as we give their position away, the umm of the wireless can be heard a long way off in the still of the night.
Such was one night when we had to hold a position in case of a German attack the next morning. At about 12 o clock midnight all hell let loose, the Herman Goring Lufwafin regiment made an attack (these were boys 16 to 18 trained to create havoc at night) exploding shells, machine gun fire, star shells etc.
I was in the middle of a field, at one end was a gate, a road running along side of it to a small wood. I had taken note of these details early that day, so looking into the dark for that gate, suddenly there was a flash on the side of my tank and the blast hit me