On the 71st Anniversary Tour of Operation Market Garden last September we were fortunate enough to have amongst our party a Veteran, Gordon Cantley. In 1944, Lieutenant Gordon Cantley was serving with 14th Field Squadron, Royal Engineers attached to the Guards Armoured Division. Gordon told me that he had decided that this would be his final visit to the Battlefields and given the level of detailed knowledge he could still display I had no hesitation in allowing him to speak throughout our Day spent on Club Route.
The following is a Transcript of an interview made with the IWM Sound Archive. It is Gordon’s reminisces of those days in September 1944 and pleasingly mirrors exactly what he was to say on our Tour years later. The Transcription comes courtesy of Diane from http://www.ww2talk.com whose father served with J.O.E Vandeleur’s Irish Guards Group during Market Garden.
Gordon in Valkenswaard describing the Building of the Bridge at Son.
..So we got into the middle of Brussels and the population was out and clambering over everything. Sappers were having a splendid time. But my OC came up and he and I set off to have a look at all of the bridges on one of the canals, to see whether they were mined or not, and they weren’t. So we got back and we stayed in Brussels. I think we got there on the night of the 3rd. I think on the 4th the Grenadiers moved forward to Louvain which is further up, to capture the bridges there, with Tony. I stayed in Brussels with the Irish Group. They had liberated quite a lot of champagne and other wines, so each unit received its allocation of booze.
Now I don’t know what I was doing but I was driving through Brussels again with this armoured Section of mine and somebody waved us down and said the war was over. Now quickly my Sappers were into the nearest cafe and were being roundly boozed up but I hadn’t been told about this. You may remember there had been an attempt by I think it was one of the Swedish Princes or something, to establish or something of that particular order at that particular time. Anyway I persuaded the Sappers that the war wasn’t yet over so we started off again.
Now round about the 5th we started off again. We moved up, without a great deal of difficulty, up to another river line – no it was a canal line. I can’t understand what it was, but we couldn’t get across this canal. There was a high level lock so I clambered up onto this lock to look over and on the other side I could see the Germans in their slit trenches. There was an open area and there was a house which was obviously the Company Headquarters or words to that sort of effect. So I came back and revealed this information but em, we couldn’t get on.
On the other Centre Line, 32 Brigade was being led and they had captured a bridge partially intact. But the Squadron – 615 Field Squadron – had put a 110 foot Triple-Single and a small 40 foot Single bridge over the top of it and they were tired, of course. So I was delegated to join the Coldstream Group when they crossed the bridge that morning to advance. I had worked with the 5th Coldstream but I’d never worked with the armoured battalion of the Coldstream at that particular time.
It was really hard going, it really was hard fighting. We were getting shelled and mortared all the way. There was a big coal heap and it was obvious that the Germans were using this as an Observation Post and they could see everything that was going on. So we were working round to the left to try and get to this particular next canal the Meuse – Escault Canal. That canal which we had just crossed was the Albert Canal, quite a big canal. So we were now trying to get to the Meuse – Escaut and we were working round the the left. The Welsh were working up through the middle and they had a hard time of it, the Welsh, because the Germans had decided they were going to hold the Albert canal as their defence line and they put paratroopers and some heavy tanks across the Meuse-Escaut, up to the Albert but we were already across it. But this was what we were meeting – their attempts to retake this bridgehead and to form that as the line and our attempts to get through it.
So the Welsh had a hard time with this bunch. The Coldstream had also had a hard time. But we were moving slightly to the left near a place called Bourg Leopold and we were getting on not too badly having broken through this crust. But on the road to Bourg Leopold there was an anti-tank gun further up the road which was stopping the tanks. So I went up and had a look under the road to see what the – whether the culvert was blown up or not. There was a German tank buried up to the top of its tracks in the mud on the left so the ground was very soft, and not really able to get off the road.
Anyway we decided we would by-pass this anti-tank gun which in fact put a shot through the middle of a 15 cwt which incautiously had come round the corner. By this time I had learnt, quite soundly, that if everything was quiet, you were too near the bloody Germans. Nobody told you that you were at the Front but you knew very quickly that you were near the Front, if everything went dead quiet.
Anyway we moved round again and we were on sand at this particular time and one of my sister officers – or brother Officers – in 615 Field Squadron came bashing up saying: had I seen the Irish Group and I said No, normally I work with the Irish Group. But because of the palaver with the building of the bridge we were – 14 Field Squadron were supporting 32 Brigade at this time and 615 Squadron were obviously there to support…
This chappie Ron Hutton had been delegated to catch up with the Irish and help them because they had gone on on their own. The Household Cavalry had discovered a bridge which was unblown at a place called Lommel – no, near Lommel. It was on the Meuse – Escaut Canal. They’d carried out quite a good reconnaissance. They’d borrowed some Dutch clothing and got on bicycles and cycled along this road and had seen the bridge was unblown and gone back and reported this to the Irish – reported to Division and Division had reported to the Irish. The Household Cavalry were the Corps Reconnaissance Regiment and they used to go out into the wild blue yonder. And they really did. One of my Sections – the other armoured Section with Corporal Pratt – used to be sent out with one of their Sections, out into the wild blue yonder and they had a splendid time. But they didn’t do any fighting. They just wandered around.
Anyway, the Irish had been told this and at that particular time the Commander of the 3rd Irish was a chap called Joe Vandeleur and his cousin Giles Vandeleur was in fact commanding the armoured battalion, the 2nd Irish. Joe Vandeleur decided he would have a go at capturing this bridge. To cut a long story short, they bounced this bridge and they captured it intact and Ron Hutton removed the demolition charges and got an MC  for that. The story – the cruel story in the Division was that he lost his wire cutters and he had to use his revolver to break the wire. But that’s another story. He did well.
The other story which comes up in a little bit of the History of the Irish Guards is that either the lead tank across, or the second tank across, they had the had knocked an 88 out of the way on getting there, and they’d pushed another one which was being towed out of the way on getting over, and when they got across there was a German Army lorry burning, and they could smell tobacco, so they stopped, filled up their tank with cigars before proceeding. That’s true but it’s not something which eh … Anyway, the Brigade – the Irish crossed and they formed a bridgehead over this particular river. They kept on increasing this sort of bridgehead, a little bit here, to keep the Germans on the move during the time we were there.
Now this was the 10th of September. So we’d reached Brussels on the 3rd of September. The Grenadiers had moved forward to Louvain on the 4th of September. We’d started off again about the 5th or the 6th September. We’d had four days of very heavy fighting getting to and capturing this bridge. So the Germans were on the ball again and it was at this particular stage that Montgomery elected to try the Arnhem business. So we were told to stop at this crossing and hold on.
Now the Airborne Army as it was, had been briefed three or four times for the Seine Crossing, for the airfields at Douai and Amiens and possibly the Albert Canal and they’d all had these things cancelled so they were all getting a little bit sort of uptight and this one was going to go, whatever happened.
So that’s one background which doesn’t get …
DID YOU KNOW THAT AT THE TIME, OR WAS THAT…?
We knew that they were getting a bit uptight but eh, that was not our problem.
The other thing was it took from the 10th of September to the 17th of September to organise this particular shooting match. Which isn’t a long time considering everything which had to be done. At that particular stage then we were on Water points. I remember building a water point on a house and taking a chance on the quality of the roof and just managing to get away with it. We put the self-supporting water tanks on the flat roof and it just managed to stay up without falling through, but that’s another story.
The Irish were in front and they were trying to get a little bit further forward all the time with their bridgehead or keeping the Germans on the move. Now at this particular stage the 11th Armoured had got through to Antwerp on the 4th of September, as we had got to Brussels on the 3rd September. 7th Armoured had got to had got to Ghent or Ghent as the case may be, as well, and the whole of the German 15th Army had been retreating up the coast. So they were stuck between Ghent and Antwerp with the Scheldt estuary in front of them. Now, it always puzzled me that they were not – that they were allowed to escape over the Scheldt. I read stories of this and they couldn’t move at all during the day but during the night they used to get their barges and swing their bridges across, and their rafts and they shifted basically the whole of this damned Army across into Zeeland. Of course that gave an awful lot of trouble in the capturing of the, and opening up of the Antwerp ports, because they had to land there and move down and push this army back.
In addition to that this Army was now on the left hand side, up towards the coast, and we were in the middle and Germany itself was on the right. I’ve often wondered about the wisdom of that, whether it was right to do this, or do that. But off course war is always a choice of different decisions. I think that in principle the Arnhem decision was quite well-conceived. If we had got as far as we had got, and got right round over Arnhem to the Zuider Zee as was our brief, our objective, then that would have eliminated the whole of the Siegfried line and all that rotten battle which took place between the Meuse and the Rhine after Arnhem.
But forgetting about that – we are here on the 10th September, the German Army is busy crossing on our left, which we don’t know anything about. The Airborne can’t go in until the 17th of September, so all we can do is keep nibbling away and keeping the the bridgehead alive. So, comes the 17th of September, and we’re all briefed you know: Bash on, press on regardless sir. No stopping, no nothing.
So up we go and I get briefed by the CRE and he says: The Irish are leading, so you’re with the Irish. You have under your command a bulldozer and two tipper loads of Armco culverting because before you reach the next village there’s a little stream – whose name I forget – and if that bridge is blown you are to deal with it and I’m giving you this equipment upfront. – Fine. Thank you very much Sir.
So the plan then is that the armour will lead, there will be no infantry assault, it will be an armour breakout to get going as quickly as possible behind a First World War barrage. Now by this time the 3rd Irish had been taken out of the line and one of the – I think it was one of 50th Division’s battalions – or maybe more than one had been put into the bridgehead.
So 3rd Irish were now back on the tanks with the 2nd Irish. So off we go at half past two on the Sunday afternoon. We’re the lead tank, two lead tanks, – the lead Troop Leader – the lead Troop leader was normally the lead tank – then his two tanks, normally three tanks, but normally there was one out of operation, the lead Squadron Leader, me, two half tracks of Sappers, two tipper loads of Armco culverting, a bulldozer on a trailer and the rest of the Guards Armoured Division. So off we set, and as I said, my wireless Operator sat in the turret, and I sat down and you could see out through ports on the side. As we were going along I saw these Germans popping out of the ground and running to what was obviously an 88 – and it was sitting up – an 88 sits high – and it was sitting up there and I saw them running to this. We were trotting along quite nicely and I thought somebody must be shooting at them but I didn’t see any shooting.
So off we got and we were belting along quite steadily and all of a sudden we stop. There’s open ground on the right hand side and there’s a rabbit fence on the left hand side with trees – more like young conifers than anything else. A ditch on the left hand side and and a ditch on the right hand side and the road width was probably about fifteen feet. This was the Centre line fifteen feet of road and not very good road at that.
So we stopped and I get out and I asked the Squadron Leader: Why are we stopped Sir? He said: Well look behind. Behind the bulldozer was one more tank and further down the line we could see more smoke because they had brewed up, I think it was either the next six tanks or the next nine tanks. So that was the Division at a halt. We stayed there – this must have been about three o’clock I suppose in the afternoon – we stayed there for a bit, the Sappers were out in the ditches preparing for any sort of difficulties.
The OC of the Squadron said: We got to go back about 500 yards or so because they want the Typhoons to strafe the woods and I said: Well that’s fine but it’s not going to be easy turning a bulldozer on a trailer on a fifteen foot road. He acknowledged that but he said: You’ve got ten minutes to do it. Fortunately we were able to get the damn thing onto this flat field and turn it round and we all got back. We got back, I don’t know how far we went back. I never saw any Typhoons firing but we went back so far and we stopped again and we managed to turn the bulldozer round again so the thing was on. And we sat there for a bit and eventually they cleared the Germans out of this hold-up, fairly quickly – fair number of casualties though when you read their battle that took place there and they broke out again.
So we set off again. Now it was still daylight and part of the plan had been that the lead tank would stop a couple of hundred yards short of this supposedly, possibly damaged bridge. The Medium guns, the 4.5s and the 5 inches, would fire on this target in case there were some Germans there. So we got there and we stopped. I pulled the dozer into a turning off to the left and my two half tracks of Sappers and told them to get the dozer off and let it amble down to the bridge.
Corporal South who was the Section leader at that particular time and I we started to walk down to the bridge. The tanks stopped about a hundred yards short of the bridge. We got down to the bridge and it was a timber bridge but we could see it was all right for Class 40 and it seemed to be all right. The Germans had been doing some road works at that particular stage in the game. They were obviously going to double up this bridge and they had started to make a road to the side to double up and it was sand bed only. Now no sooner had Corporal South and I said: Well this is all right, when these bloody 4.5s and 5 inches started to come in and there we were right on the target. So, I don’t know about him but I had my steel helmet on and I was dug-in pretty quickly in this sand bed.
But anyway, it stopped and there was very little damage to the bridge. The 4.5s were pretty ineffective but they had killed quite a number of cattle in the field or wounded them – they weren’t terribly happy. One of my Sappers had told me later on that one of them had damaged the trailer for the bulldozer – the dozer was off and he was wandering down to the bridge at this time and he’d stopped of course. But I left my Section there – half of the Section there – to repair this minor bit of damage. I’m told by one of the Sappers that the last he saw of the bulldozer was it was towing its trailer back towards Brussels. He’d had enough.
Anyway we got into this place called Valkenswaard and this was in the evening. Why we didn’t press on, I don’t know. But remember that the 3rd Irish had been pretty heavily involved in this battle to break out of the bridgehead, the 2nd Irish had lost six or nine tanks and done a lot of firing. So the probable reason for it was that they wanted to be replenished by the F Echelon for the next day. That’s the probable reason for the stop at Valkenswaard. Anyway we stopped there. The OC came up and he and I toured around the place having a look at different things but no problems.
During the night a German vehicle – I forget what it was – came through, but I didn’t see it. He came through breaking his way out for himself and he was hurling grenade out of the doings. But I don’t think any real damage happened. So the next day came along and this was Day 1 gone. We’d got two days to get to Arnhem and here we were, we were about 10 miles north of the breakout, we had about another 40 or 50 miles to go.
So we started off the next morning again with the Irish leading and we got – we knocked out a tank on the way or a self-propelled gun, I remember that. Again remember I’m about 4th vehicle in the line. The lead tank spotted it this one before he spotted it, knocked him out get to this village called Aalst – A A L S T – and we stop again. The reason why we stopped is there was a battery of 88 guns round the corner and they can’t get the tanks around them. So we stopped again and there was another culvert at the entrance to this village so I went out to have a look, to see if it was prepared for demolition and it wasn’t. As I got out one of these Daimler Dingos of the Household Cavalry came belting backwards with his smoke pots discharging. He’d tried to go forward and the 88 had had a shot at him, so he came back. The Grenadiers tried to get to the left and Tony tried to pass them over a bridge and the third tank fell through, so they were stuck. Eventually the infantry got round and they moved these anti-tank guns out of way. This time we were sitting in Aalst.
Now this was the afternoon in Aalst and there are two things you do in the Army – you either sleep or you eat. I was having a nap on the bonnet of my Scout car. This chappie came out of a house at the side and he said: I just had a telephone call from Eindhoven, are you interested? I said: I’m not interested in Eindhoven, but can you get through to Zon, which was the bridge further up the line. That was the bridge that the American Airborne – 101 – was supposed to capture. That was the next major bridge, the Queen Wilhelmina canal.
Can you get through to Zon? He said: Well, we’ll try.
So I went in to his house and I spoke to the Operator at Eindhoven: Can you through to the Operator at Zon? She said: Well, we’ll try.
She got through to the Operator at Zon and I said: Well look, can you get an Engineer Officer to come to telephone and she said: We’ll try.
So I went back to sleep on the top of the car and the OC, Major Thomas came up, cos I’d told the CRE what was happening. I was on the CRE’ s net, the lead, the two lead Officers – myself and Tony Jones – were on the CRE’s net – right back to the CRE so we kept him fully in the picture. I said: Well, we’ll see.
This chappie came through and the Engineer officer came on and talked to the Squadron Leader and he said :Yes
Well what size of bridging do we need?
110 feet. Right.
Will you clear the site for us? Yes
So there we were in the afternoon the 18th of September: We knew it was 110 foot Triple-Single, we knew that the site would be cleared and we knew the bridge was blown. So one of the things the CRE did was he cleared the Centre Line and when the Irish started off again and we got through Eindhoven, still in the daylight. We got to Zon which was about I suppose five or six miles beyond Eindhoven – the Wilhelmina canal. There we were.
Now on my two half tracks I used to carry Assault boats, British Army canvas Assault boats, so we were always able to cross a wet obstacle. So we were able to set out the bridge before the rest of the Squadron arrived and the bridging arrived. That night when I was OC Bridge and we built that bridge – 110 foot Triple-Single. My memory of it is that we were supposed to have it finished by 6.30 I think it was, in the morning and we’d started about 8, 10 o’clock at night. It’s a ten hour job so it must have been 8 o’clock at night and it was 6.30 and we were just finishing the end ramp which was on the other side of the bridge to get it down. The Section that was there was my armoured Section who’d been awake for two nights and they weren’t as bright as they should have been, but the CRE came storming over and he was yelling his bloody head off at these people not working hard enough. So I pointed out to him: This is the armoured Section, etc etc etc. So he understood.
We got the Grenadiers away – they were on lead. The Irish had been on lead for the two days. The Grenadiers with Tony Jones went through. By this time we were into the territory of the 101st Airborne. Now all I did from then on was follow behind the Grenadiers with the Irish Group and we were pushed round to the left of Eindhoven, round towards the railway bridge and the power station. The Grenadiers in front of us were pushed through into Eindhoven to try and capture – if it hadn’t already been captured – the main bridge over the lower Rhine – the Waal.
But we learned by this time that the American 82nd Airborne hadn’t managed to capture the bridge. They had concentrated on keeping the Germans off the Centre Line, preventing them coming through from the Reichswald Forest and they hadn’t managed to capture the bridge. There was some argument that eh – I forget whose name the Divisional Commander was – but he’d ordered one battalion to go for the bridge and they had hesitated and stopped short.
Anyway here we are on the third day and the Grenadiers belting along. There is a connecting canal between the main river, the Waal and the Meuse, called the Maas-Waal canal and it’s got a big bridge over it as well. When they got to there they found that it was badly damaged; a partial demolition had taken place and it was drooping. But the Airborne had captured a bridge over a minor canal further round to the right so that the Group was passed over that bridge and they got up to Nijmegen.
I don’t know the details from there on onwards but the fact is that they tried to capture the bridge and they didn’t get it. They didn’t get anywhere near it because the reaction of the Germans had been such that they’d put somebody over on the South side of the river very quickly. They’d put their guns on to those particular targets very quickly. They knew what the pattern was very quickly from you know, the landings of the Airborne Division. So anyway the Grenadiers attempted to go at it on the first day and didn’t get anywhere.
Now we’re not on the 19th. This is the afternoon of the 19th. They’re trying to capture this bridge, they can’t do it. Tony sends one of his half tracks with a Lance-Sergeant round to the left with some tanks to try and take the railway bridge which is on the left hand side and downstream. They get shot up and in fact Lance -Sergeant Berry is killed.  Tony remains with the main group. After very hard fighting and some good fighting by both the 1st Battalion of the Grenadiers who lost some good people and the battalion of the Airborne, they get to the end of the bridge but they still can’t get across the bridge. So the Airborne decided that the only way that they can do this is to put a water assault downstream and come in from the other side. This has been planned for some time because of the difficulties of getting the bridge but the difficulty of getting the Assault boats up this single Centre Line has been enormous and they haven’t arrived till fairly late on the afternoon of the 20th.
Now by this time the south side of the bridge has been taken but not the river, not the crossing. The Americans are supported by the Irish, whom I told you were round on the left hand side and the Irish lined the embankment and fired smoke and supporting fire for the Americans rowing themselves across. In fact my Troop was down to ferry them across and that’s one reason why I was round there but they decided they would do it themselves for which I am very truly grateful. Nevertheless they did it themselves and they did a splendid job.
I was very lucky one time running into Morris – some peculiar name – Burrell Moffett I think his name was, or Burris Moffett [T. Moffatt Burriss], some sort of name, who was the chappie who was the leading Company Commander crossing that particular thing on that particular assault. We met up with him on one of these visits to Arnhem with Tony Jones and they had a long argument as to who had cut the wires on the bridge. Because when the notice was given that the Americans were at the far side of the bridge, the tanks dashed across.
Now Tony’s memory of this briefing is – it was with Lord Carrington who was I think the Second in Command of that particular lead Squadron of Grenadier tanks.
Sergeant Robertson or Robinson as the case may be, pointed out that this should be the job of an Officer. In fact he was told: Not in the Grenadier Guards. Tony remembers this quite well.
Anyway off shot Sergeant Robertson, or Sergeant Robinson, Robertson I think it was, with his two tanks belting across and Tony was briefed to follow with his half Section to cut the wires. Off they went and they bounced their way through a roadblock of concrete blocks which I think had been there for another purpose but which were there. Tony says he threw about half a dozen Teller mines into the drink and he got started on cutting the wires. This is of course where our friend from the American Army says he was cutting wires but I’m sure there were plenty of wires for him to cut, signal wires and all sorts of wires. The reason why it went up was nae because they cut the wires it was that they decided that they could nae blow it, or something went wrong. Anyway.
The other story is of course that when Robertson got over the bridge with one tank – because one tank had been damaged – they stopped under the railway. Now as I said the railway was down below and the road bridge was here, so the railway crossed over and the road passed under this railway bridge. So he got as far as this railway bridge which I suppose was about a couple of miles up and they stopped. The Americans were quite excited because they wanted the tanks to go on. Now remember the Grenadiers had been fighting quite hard to clear this bridge, they’d taken a lot of casualties, the tanks had taken casualties and these two tanks were on the right side of the river with no infantry to follow. But the Americans said but Well we’ll put our people on. This has always been the argument.
But remember we’re now on the evening of the 20th of September and eh I know now that our friend Frost had surrendered on the afternoon of the 20th of September and he was – they were taken off on the afternoon of the 20th of September. So the bridge had gone at Arnhem and even if it hadn’t, the purpose of belting up there with a couple of tanks and getting to the bridge had probably gone. We certainly weren’t going to get to the Zuider Zee. But at that particular stage of the game the remainder of the 1st Airborne were having a bit of a battle around about Hartenstein, I think it was called, on the other side, but they were much further downstream, opposite or very near to the Heveadorp ferry near a place called Driel.
Now the next day which is the 21st the Irish were in lead again and we again crossed over this bridge – well we didn’t cross it till the early morning of the 21st and we’d gone about eh, oh i don’t know, two or three miles, rounded a corner and the first three lead tanks were brewed up. Bang, bang, bang. We could see the Polish airdrop taking place and they were taking place to the left round about Driel. So they were dropping to support the Airborne on the other side of the river. But we were on this embanked road with polder on left and right, and nothing, no cover whatsoever and we turned round this bend and the first three lead tanks were burning. So we stopped and we got out, the Squadron Leader got out into the ditch, I got out into the ditch. I’d picked up an American Garand I think it’s called, which is a self-loading rifle. So i had a shot or two at a farm which I could see just over the field, which produced an immediate response of a burst of Spandau, at which I was asked to desist, which I did very quickly.
We stayed there for a bit and then we moved back a bit – not very much – just a yard or two to get out of the way and whilst we were there the half track containing the RAF Controller for the Typhoons was there. Now, I can’t remember the Typhoons being brought into action, at all. I don’t know whether they were or they weren’t, maybe the weather wasn’t good, maybe they couldn’t fly by at least a fella was there. I was talking to him and I heard a barrel of incoming mortars on its way and I knew this lot was coming close. So in two seconds flat I was under the tank but he wasn’t aware of these sort of things, so he was left standing. Fortunately he wasn’t hurt but he decide he was a bit too close to the sharp end and withdrew. Very wise.
Anyway we stayed there. My only memory of that particular area is that – we moved off the side. My only memory of that particular area is that the 25-pounders were starting to fire and there was one gun was dropping short – there’s always one bloody gun dropping short – and he was dropping into our laager, so people were getting a bit excited about this. But anyway, we stayed there and we had nothing more to do with regard to the relief of the Airborne Division. The Armoured Division was drawn back and we were drawn back to the side.
We had some more exercises in helping to maintain – what do you call it – the thing that was stretched across the river to stop the Germans sending stuff down the river. But in fact the Germans sent down a squad of frogmen and they attempted to blow both the railway bridge and the road bridge. In fact they put a charge alongside one of the piers of the railway bridge and they dropped a span into the brink, so that went well for them. At the road bridge it didn’t damage the pier but it blew a hole in the bridge. So we had to put a couple of Bailey bridges across this gap to keep a two-way traffic. But that was that.
I understand also that the Navy got involved in producing a proper boom and they put a proper boom in up upstream after this particular exercise. But I also understand that the Germans knew about this so they launched a haystack into the drink. Now you wouldn’t believe it but a haystack when it picks up the water, it still floats but its a fairly massive thing. This made a real mess of this boom as well. But that’s another story. Whether there’s any truth in it I don’t know.
Anyway we were now out of the line. This was September, getting towards the end of September 1944. Now, what did we do after that? We hung about in that particular area for some time and during November I was sent back with my Troop to Bourg Leopold to build a transit camp for the Leave personnel. So I was down in Bourg Leopold for about six weeks building this transit camp – at least knocking into shape damaged buildings and this sort of thing as a transit camp.
The full interview, including his experiences from landing in Normandy and beyond Market Garden can be found here: