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Graham, James Henry (Harry)

Town : Carlisle, CUMBRIA.
Regiment : Light Aid Detachment, Attached 84th Medium Regt RA
Landed in Normandy : Gold Beach, D-Day +1, 7TH JUNE 1944
Graham, James Henry (Harry)

We landed on Gold Beach 7 June 1944. The guns landed on the 6st of June.
The regiment belonged to: 5 AGRA (Army Gramp Royal Artillery) so the 5.5" guns had to go where ever required. These guns were classed as medium and the shells were 100 lbs each and could be fired over 15 miles.
There were 12 men in the L.A.D. and were all R.E.M.E.-men, (Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers). Of the 12 men there were 2 Gun Fitters, 2 Store men, 3 Driver Mechanics, 1 Electrician, 1 Welder and 3 Vehicle Fitters and I Being a Sergeant Vehicle Fitter in Charge. We had 2-6 wheel store trucks, 1 - 6 wheel recovery wagon and one 8cwt pick-up.

We arrived in Brussels at 2.30 am. After attending to two recovery jobs,, we were in leaguer area in the "Palace" grounds.. On 7-9-1944 I go back to Brigade workshop with a damaged Jeep. On return I find Taylor and motorbike only with a map reference to go North. On the road towards Eindhoven I tell Wagstaff (recovery driver) to carry on and overtake the endless column of army material, eventually we had to stop because of two German tanks firing from the right near the plantation. We took shelter in the ditch at the roadside. Soon fire, five vehicles behind the recovery wagon were burning. I was going to move the recovery wagon but Wagstaff beat me to it. After the German tanks had been dealt with, an officer of the convoy was quite concerned the traffic would be held back into France. I took the recovery wagon through the farm cut the wire fence, then fed the winch rope from a safe distance to reach the burning vehicles, the road here was on an embankment from 6 to 7 feet high, we winched the burning vehicles across the road and over the embankment one at a time, the exploding ammunitions kept flying about as it was disturbed. The road was soon cleared, and all were lad to get on the move again. The work must have been appreciated and reported, for I was awarded the General Montgomery Certificate later for having performed outstanding good service and shown great devotion to duty.

After many problems crossing the canals we travelled up what was later known as "Hells Highway" to Nijmegen. The Germans were very active here, jet planes through the day and self propelled guns at night. Our guns were firing 80 lbs shells to Arnhem, and were in fact the first medium guns to fire into Germany. On Christmas eve we travelled down the Ardennes, the Americans had requested help after the Germans had broken through from Bastogne. After two weeks we returned to the Malden area. Eventually we supported and crossed the Rhine at Wesel. Our guns were to the front line, always giving support to all.

We finished up at Blankenburg next to the Russians.

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