in the eyes, I felt all bits pricking my eyeballs. I was blind; I do not know
why I did not panic. I just sat on my seat and said to my crew "I can't see" I
pulled down the hatch. My gunner put on the light and looked into my eyes, he
informed me that they were full of bits and my forehead was slightly cut. With
some cold tea that was left in a can, I started to wash my eyes, I heard my
wireless operator reporting that his crew commander could not see. The reply was
telling him it's a black night none of us can see.
I had to smile, not because of that remark, but because I could see a faint light as the gunner had not switched the light.
Half an hour later I could see and all this time the battle was raging. Throwing back the hatch I got my eyes used to the dark, they were sore but I could see figures running about, one came running towards my tank waving his arms. Now this was not the thing to do, I took out my revolver and fired over his head - his words came out very plain " I am English, you fool." I shouted back from the top of the tank " only a fool would come running toward a tank waving his arms about at night" off very slowly. We went through the gate just enough so we could get the gun
He wanted me to try and get through the small gate to stop anyone, and then he went pointing down the road - in training one of the things we learnt was if one was careful by lowering the gun down towards the ground a HE shell could be used just like skimming a pebble over water. This is what I did and the shell exploded in the air.
As daylight came things went quiet. Pat our troop officer came over to see me and jokingly said " by the look of your eyes you must have been on the tiles or too much to drink, where was the party! Are you Ok? He insisted I went to first aid to have them cleaned out.
When I got back he was talking to another officer. Pat said, " this is the man you shot at last night I replied "it's a good job I am a good shot." But you missed" he said.
I replied" just think what would have happened if I had aimed at you " We all had a good laugh and off he went to his regiment. I think Pat had told him how lucky he was as part of our training is "if a person doesn't make himself or herself known before approaching a tank - shoot first and ask question after."
A counter attack developed by enemy infantry. This was beaten off. Then it was reported that enemy tanks, self-propelled guns and others were moving northwards to CUVERVILLE. First reports were 25 then 20 in all about 43 the enemy split up into two groups. My gunner claimed 2, the 13/18th had a good shoot, and about 17 enemy tanks destroyed, the following days were spent in discomfort from shells and airbursts.
The regiment were to be given a break, fighting had been hard and all the hard training had paid off.
We retired to a village on the coast called LUC-SUR-MER here we were able to have a bath, sleep in some sort of a bed and good food that our cooks dished up.
It had been sleeping in the hull of the tank and eating hard tack.
The stay was short at 2 o'clock in the morning 8th July we moved into battle formation, the attack under cover of artillery about 4 o'clock first light on EPERON.The battle went on all day by 10 o'clock that night the infantry were
'Dug in' - EPERON was ours.
Next move was to take CAEN, on 6th August the 13/18th Hussars supporting the 129 Infantry Brigade made an assault on the western foothills of MOUNT PINCON.