Normandy 2017 Day 6 – With the Green Howards

Day 6 – Sunday 4th June

With the Green Howards

After breakfast at a leisurely 8:30 in the morning we headed off to the village of Crépon, where we had been told of a ceremony dedicated to the Green Howards, one of the Battalions that some of The Men in the Shed were members of.

We had been told that it would be at 10 o’clock in fact it was two hours later, so we put the additional time to good use in working out the route taken by Elledge, Sheppard, Willen and Gillespie

We believe that we have identified one key Passage in Elledge’s manuscript which refers to the town of Villers-Bocage. There is a very descriptive process that he goes through which matches exactly the lie of the land. We couldn’t work out where they went from this point, however and that was partly because of the arrival of the various veterans who we wanted to meet!

There was a very nice ceremony and afterwards, a number of the veterans were awarded a local medallion. Then it was round to the Salles de Fettes for some drinks and some very light snacks where we had the opportunity to speak briefly to Colonel Mantell who is the chairman of the Old Comrades Association for the Green Howards we also had the opportunity of speaking to some veterans, one whom actually landed on D-Day and another who had come in on one of the waves of the Airborne reinforcement units

A missing brewery

From Crépon,  we went to try to find a brewery that Glyn had seen information on. Unfortunately this does not appear to be in existence or if it is, the signage is not clear as they would have one believe from their website

Tilly Book Fair and Albert Figg

We then went to the Tilly book fair, organised each year by Stéphane Jacquet and whilst there we met veteran Albert Figg who was selling his life story which year he released in English last year and this year a French translation; an excellent read

Whilst here we also had lunch which consisted of some rice pudding and a small cake! Food was not always going to plan!

At the fair,  Colin purchased an original copy of the divisional history of the 43rd division which he asked Albert Figg to sign as he was a gunner in that division.

We then helped with some translation for some people who were buying Albert’s book explaining how where he was firing are in support of the fighting on hill 112 and fundraising that he has done to get the various memorials on the Hill and finally the trees being planted this year

Tracking down 1st Bn Hampshire Regiment

We then left to take some photographs just north of the village of Hottot les Bagues where the 1st Hampshire Battalion were between the 1st and 12th of July 1944. As the 11th of July is the date given by some of the prisoners in the shed as the date of their capture, this was of particular interest. So having an aerial photograph that we collected from the National Archives on which was marked the location of the various companies of the Battalion,  we took a series of photos of the locations. Obviously, there’s little to see following the passing of over 70 years, but the lady who owns the farm & gave us permission to go & take the photos said that there was very hard fighting in the area which resulted in her parent’s house being destroyed.

The battery in my camera dying just after the final photograph, we headed off into Bayeux for a well-deserved meal in a traditional French restaurant.

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