Which covered the whole sector from the river VIRE, the day was very hot, sun
was scorching, the battle never stopped, the infantry were pinned down on every
attempt, by evening, hopes were fading of success - Then with 5 other tanks we
way across the ditch in the face of all German attempts to stop us with bazookas and everything they had. We never faltered and drove to the top of this steep hill like a mountain. We were surrounded by the enemy, and shot it out until the remainder of the squadron joined us. From then on the American armour was now in full swing, the break out was on, One could never remember everything of a battle.
About September, after speeding on to the Albert canal at BERINGEN where the Guards were having difficulty enlarging a bridgehead. By evening we, with a battery of Essex Yeomanry and surrounded by the enemy at BEVERLOO, we formed a square - but the Germans did not put it to the test. Later BOURG LEOPOLD was captured by the 13/18 Hussars. After 4 days rest, this had been the first stand down since D.Day. The next operation was (code name) MARKET GARDEN - Holland.
We arrived at NIJMEGEN where the bridge over the river WAAL had been captured by the 82nd United States Airborne Div. Supported by the Guards Armoured Tanks, the 13/18th Hussars attacking the village of ELST fighting in Holland all September, it was here the war ended for me. During one of the battles my tank started to tilt over as the ground gave way, from some explosion. I gave the order to abandon tank and as I climbed out of the turret, a shell exploded behind me blowing me off the tank. I hit the ground; I stood up running my hands over my back, which felt like someone had hit me with an iron bar. Trying to get my breath back, I heard someone shout "over here" I started to run when I was hit in the leg. I fell and rolled into a shell hole, The shrapnel had cut the nerve in my leg, but my crew was OK as they gathered round me. My good friend Sgt Haygarth jumped off his tank and put his arms around me as shells were exploding. That was the last I saw of them as I was taken back to England where I stayed in hospital. The war was over and I was discharged from the army.
45 years later I contacted my crew and friends; others had died or been killed.
No words can ever explain the horrors of war, the smell of burning flesh or the sight of friends, who you had lived with over the years, their bodies being blown apart and you being left with the remains to identify.
But there were good times to remember. In 1939 while in France, before the Germans invaded, we made our own entertainment; I was in the mouth organ band, which for weeks had been practising the song called "3 little fishes"
One day the priest asked if we would play for him at a sermon he was going to hold in the barn. He said " I know you have been practising '3 little fishes' but this will be a change for you."
Well, on Sunday we sat on an old hay cart, all the squadron assembled, the parson said the first hymn will be 'Abide With Me'. We set off in great gusto, then one of the chaps, very softly, started to play '3 little fishes,' then all the band joined in and the squadron were singing in full voice. The parson enjoyed it.
Many more such stories could be told. If asked "wouldn't I have been better at home than in the army" I would have to say no; the comradeship in the army was second to none.
I felt proud to be in a regiment that led the invasion to the defeat of Hitler and the release of those countries that suffered under the Nazis.