This page contains the memoirs passed to me from an officer of the 4th Bn, 53rd Welch Division’s diary. The officer came ashore on Gold Beach during the D-Day landings.
Tuesday 11th July 1944
“At dawn today, I wandered around all the men and chatted with them. They seemed quite happy. Every trench I visited, I was given a sip of ‘compo’ tea and a hard biscuit – the best the boys could give me.
My Batman then came to look for me. He wanted to show me a row of ten graves in a near by field. What touched me most was the verse which someone had painted on a rough board which was erected between the fifth an sixth grave.
It read; ‘There is a corner of some foriegn field that is forever England’.
The CO then sent for me and asked me to go on a day patrol. I was feeling fresher after a few hours sleep, which was the first bit I had had for several days. I was ordered to go forward to look at a hill which the battalion was going to attack during the night.
I went all alone this time, although I shouldn`t have done so. I crossed the railway line and off I went through the lines of some of our Divisional troops. All I remember is waking up at the First Aid Station (which we called the CCS, or Casualty Clearing Station).
“……the doctors and stretcher bearers were all strange to me, and it was then I realised that I was out of the Battalion area.
This CCS was just a colossal dug-out, and the medical officers were having a busy time attending to a continous stream of wounded soldiers. I was lying on a stretcher. One of the stretcher bearers brought me some hot, sweet tea, after which I felt a little better. Then I was told what happened.
A piece of shell shrapnel had hit me in the shoulder. My polo-necked khaki pullover and my jacket had been ripped and my body was covered with blood.
I asked the medical officer to notify my Battalion, and to convey a very important message for me.
Soon I was in bandages an I became unconcious again for a while. When I awoke the second time, who should be beside me but the second in command of ‘A Company’. He had rushed to see me before I was evacuated.
An ambulance drew up and several of us were conveyed to Bayeux tent hospital. As the door was opened oceans of mud and hundreds of tents were revealed. I was carried into one of the tents and in a white sheeted bed and attended to by a sister, who came from Llandudno, in N.Wales.
I was visited by the doctor and was given morphic injections. Oh! I was sick sometime later.
Seriously and lightly wounded cases lay all around me. I must pay tribute to the nursing staff. They worked tirelessly. As an operation was not urgently required in my case, I was transported to an LST ( Landing Ship Tank) at Arromanches.
Hundreds of stretcher cases were already awaiting to be taken across to England. Many cases were taken over by plane. Doctors and male nurses moved amoungst the wounded, and all their time was spent in giving us hot sweet tea, tablets and injections.
Around each man’s neck was a label, on which all their particulars were written. As dusk fell the LST set sail to England…………”