My memory of the next couple of days is rather hazy. I do know that we were subjected to heavy mortar fire and I recollect being asked to mark up a map for the CRA Brigadier Heath but I found great difficulty holding the china-graph pencil: I was given some tablets by the Brigadier’s driver and evacuated to the rest area.
In fact the Division handed over the whole of the area to the 53rd Welsh Division on the night of the 25th/26th July, having fought and held its own with some of the toughest troops of the German army. The Divisional Commander Major General Thomas stood on a track in the yellow corn fields approaching the rest area and watched the Infantry marching back, sadly depleted and to be reinforced by raw troops from the UK. The area was about 4 miles south-east of Bayeux and had been so rapidly overrun on D-Day that much of the corn stood undamaged and ripening in the fields.
I was pleased to see my Batman, Gunner Price, after so many weeks away from the gun area and he had managed a magnificent slit trench which accommodated a camp bed. I was later told that, having been put to sleep and well covered with blankets, I slept a solid 28 hours!
It was marvellous to be in the shade of the apple trees, away from the din of the battlefield and the dust and traffic, and to visit the mobile bath unit established by the RAOC (Royal Army Ordnance Corps) on the River Seulles and to enjoy the luxury of a bath and clean underwear. There was plenty of Calvados and Camembert cheese about and life seemed idyllic. I visited an ENSA show put on by George Fornby and his wife Beryl in the open and within range of the enemy guns and they really did do the world of good to the morale of the troops.
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