The C.O. also instructed me to outline to the Brigade Commander two tactical alternatives that he might wish to consider. Clearly we were in danger of running short of ammunition, so I was ordered to bring back supplies.
I immediately set off back along the route of our approach march, being initially accompanied by my batman to give protection whilst I relentlessly made my way forward and came under rifle fire from windows of houses by-passed by the battalion on their way to the objective. Later when I analysed my reactions, I was totally dedicated to the vital urgency of my mission and kept moving despite the enemy's fire which had become like the flood water troublesome and needed to be overcome by all the available energy I could muster. I did not attempt to return the fire. At one point I remember crawling through a graveyard that was only partially flooded and taking shelter between piles of destroyed gravestones as I came under fire from two possibly three snipers/riflemen deployed to cover what I assumed was an important approach junction leading to the main German defensive position. As I crawled through the graveyard I notice with a shudder the scattering of bones unearthed by mortar or artillery fire. When two-thirds of the way back, I was met by one of our water-borne Buffaloes. Two officers, one from brigade and the other from the battalion, had come forward to contact the battalion and were able to get me back in quick time. Whilst I reported to the Brigade Commander, they loaded the vehicle with ammunition ready for the return journey.
With another officer from the battalion I directed the Bufffalo back to where it could make its way forward to supply our rifle companies with ammunition. I then sought out Battalion Tactical HQ but the snipers had been active and forced it to move. I located it in a house not too far away, only to be told later I had nearly been shot by one of the signallers who had thought I was one of the snipers sneaking in through the window: such is war. We had so many casualties on the way towards the objective that only one stretcher-bearer was on the battlefield and did courageous work looking after the wounded and rightly awarded the Military Medal.

 


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