THE  DOVER WAR MEMORIAL  PROJECT

 

 

Civilian Service of
Remembrance and Thanksgiving - 2007

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Major Dennis Bradley, BEM, Regimental Association of the Queen's Own Buffs (PWRR)

141st Regiment RAC (The Buffs) attacks on the Channel ports September 1944

Having landed in Normandy in June 1944 the 141st Regiment RAC (The Buffs), with their flame thrower equipped tanks, assisted in the break out from the beachhead and then worked their way north to assist with clearance of the Channel ports. A and C Squadrons of the Regiment were assembled to attack Le Havre in September 1944. On 10th September A Squadron attacked northeast of the town. Although they were following flail tanks, six tanks were lost to mines. Many German prisoners were taken as they became aware of the terrible weapon that the Buffs had at their disposal. Operations were concluded by 11pm without any Buffs casualties. C Squadron were in the northern outskirts of the town by midnight and the Germans surrendered by 11am the following day.

The two squadrons then advanced north on transporters to Boulogne. Their attack on the town was hampered by the obstacles and craters created by the allied bombardment. They also had to overcome stiff resistance and by the time the objectives were complete, only two tanks were left with any ammunition!

They then moved up for the attack on Calais. C Squadron reached the high ground overlooking the guns on 25th September. They came under heavy fire from Sangatte and two tanks were ditched as they attempted to descend so the decision was taken to retreat to safer ground. This was frustrating for the Squadron because it was only 500 yards from the guns. The two tanks were quickly recovered, one with the use of a battery from a captured German dugout. A Squadron advanced on 26th September. Attacking pill boxes and fortresses with their flame throwers, they cleared a path for the infantry which entered the city on 28th September.

The heavy guns south of Calais had surrendered on 26th September and C Squadron then moved towards Cap Gris Nez. Mud and craters were again a problem but the garrison attached to the heavy guns was taken on 27th September. During the final assault on the guns, the flame throwers were unable to penetrate the emplacements due to the height of the apertures. The last gun in action was still traversing with the Canadian infantry on the roof of the turret. It was finally put out of action by sappers with hand placed charges. Lance Corporal Dunn, a Buff from Dover, captured a Nazi flag from one of the heavy gun positions. The flag was presented to the Mayor of Dover. 

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