6th June 1944

Memorial to 1st Suffolks at Hillman Strongpoint


8th Brigade – 3rd Division

Landed: Queen White Beach, Sword Beach.



6th June 1944

 0640    Assault Brigade left the LSIs after dawn and embarked on LCAs and joined up with LCIs at the lowering positions and made their run into the French coast. 

0700    Voyage uneventful, until within half mile of the beach. It was dull and overcast, sea heavy swell, rough for the LCAs, no sea-sickness. As the battalion neared the beach they came under sporadic shell fire and sniper fire. The two assault Battalions of the Brigade who had landed at H+5 (0725 hours) still fighting on the beaches as the battalion approached.

 0825            Battalion touched down 5 minutes behind time and rapidly disembarked. They ran up the beach and assembled under the lee of the sand dunes, and houses on the promenade. Shortly afterwards they made their way inland to the pre-arranged assembly points approx 900-1000 yards inland.

 The landing was 2 miles west of Ouistrehem, which lay at the mouth of the River Orne and Caen Canal. The beach was flat and sandy between La Breche and Lion-sur-Mer. The beach was covered by German strong-points. The foreshore had many obstacles: iron Hedgehogs, wooden stakes, and ramps all equipped with Teller Mines or shells attached to the tops. The landing craft generally managed to avoid these obstacles, which were partially covered by the sea. The LCI with the Battalion HQ was hit by a shell on beaching; the ramp came adrift. They put to sea again and transferred to an LCI and landed at 0920 hours. Two of the LCAs were hit by shells after troops disembarked. Two casualties on the beaches.

 0930    The battalion assembled in the woods north-east of Hermanville. D Company less two platoons moved off as a right flank guard and a firm base for the future move of the battalion up to Colleville. C Company moved off, clearing the village; it had partially been cleared by troops of the 6th Airborne Division. By midday B Company, with one platoon from D Company, moved up to attack the first main enemy locality (‘MORRIS’): consisting of one troop (4 guns) of 10.5cm coast defence guns.

 1300    Locality (‘MORRIS’) had been heavily bombed by the RAF and after a few rounds had been fired; the garrison of 60 Germans surrendered to B Company who then occupied the position.

 A Company, with one platoon of D Company, moved up through the village and captured the second locality just south (‘DAIMLER’).

 1340    D Company, less two platoons still in original covering positions, being mortared, was drawn out, joined their platoon who was operating with B Company at Colleville. 

1500            Advance HQ and A Company attacking the enemy position (‘HILLMAN’). B Company in gun position west of the village. C Company guarding the south east approaches. D Company less one platoon still with A Company in the centre of the village, with the RAP. Mortar platoon and Anti-Tank platoon landed 1000 hours in supporting position north of the village.

 2100    Enemy positions under the control of B and D Companies. D Company moved forward to the south-west and south-east of the village to take up defensive positions for the night. 

B Company moved up at 2215 hours. D Company moving up confronted by a farm house about 500 yards in front of their consolidating position. It was held by the Germans, and was cleared by the leading platoon. After a short engagement the Germans surrendered. 2 officers and 38 ORs sent back as prisoners. 

2300    The battalion dug-in for the night. D Day had come to close with patrols moving out to make contact with enemy.


Casualties 6th June 1944:- 

Killed:             Captain R.G.Ryley

                        Lieut T.J.F.Tooley

                        5 Other Ranks 

Wounded:            24 Other Ranks

 Missing:            4 Other Ranks

Source - PRO WO171/1381


©Paul Reed 2002-2006

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