I was a 19 year old Territorial Army soldier in 1939 trained for the Home Defence in Searchlights. i was called up on August 30th 1939. I finally left the army in June 1946 but i had survived! In late 1942 i joined a newly formed 11th Armoured Division. It was obvious that our daily training was for the inevitable Invasion of Europe.
In early 1944 I remember General Montgomery addressing us troops in Yorkshire. He was full of confidence and he told us we were going to win. In may 1944 our unit, Ordnance Field Park, moved all of our lorries and equipment to Aldershot. We were a higly mobile unit of 70 personel with small replacement equiment supporting front line troops. Our journey from London to the docks in early June was memorable one for the vast crowds waving flags and cheering us with shouts of 'Good Luck Boys!' Once in the docks we were cut off from the outside world and occupied ourselves in waterproofing our vehicles.
The trip across the Channel was a lucky one. The air seemed to be controlled by the RAF and US planes, plus a huge armada of Allied ships. Our landing on a sandy deserted beach was a dry one, the tide was out. A few German prisoners were sitting beside white tapes indicating that it was a mine free zone. Plenty of noise ahead of us from guns and shells whistling overhead from warships. My memory is still fresh from the terrible stench of dead cattle in the Normandy fields. After 4,5 years in uniform my real war was beginning.
The 11th Armoured Division, famous for its Black Bull insignia, was widely recognised as being among the best armoured divisions in north-west Europe during the Second World War.
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