A Normandy Village Street, Presles

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by harkness, Aug 19, 2019.

  1. harkness

    harkness Well-Known Member

    Presles, Calvados (at the foot of the Perrier ridge).

    Early 20th century:



    (note the people standing on some steps on the left).

    2nd August 1944, Operation BLUECOAT:




    (the steps!)

    May 2019:


    The vanished buildings (and steps) may be a result of the fighting.
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  2. TriciaF

    TriciaF Junior Member

    Poor Normandy got the brunt of it. The laitiere farms especially. But they've recovered and I always buy Normandy butter.
  3. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Salted (or demi sel at least) Normandy butter I hope

  4. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    Great find!!! I had to look quite a few times. Seems only the wall of the building to the right has remained (the same), but that can't be seen on the 1944 picture stills. How on earth did you find this?! Anything conclusive about the unit to which the half-track belonged. Naturally I'm thinking 8RB...
  5. harkness

    harkness Well-Known Member

    Hi Ronald, I'd had the postcards for a while, so I was familiar with the spot. When I viewed the footage on the IWM website I instantly recognized it. Yes, the brickwork on the right-hand wall is a match (you can just see part of the hedge on the middle 1944 shot).

    The sequence starts at 0:25 here:


    And yes, according to IWM, it is an 8RB half-track.

    Last edited: Aug 20, 2019
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  6. harkness

    harkness Well-Known Member

    Just worked out that the right-hand building is the church. Here's a photo taken from the Perrier Ridge; Pt 218 is on the ridge in the distance:

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  7. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

  8. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    In fact I have already done so: France to Germany - 8th Rifle Brigade . Page is still a bit sketchy. Website is under permanent construction

    The fighting on the Le Bas Perrier Ridge was fierce. After 2 days on the ridge and 6 more days at Presles, 8RB alone had suffered some 60 casualties (one officer becoming POW). 23rd Hussars were also there and also suffered casualties. The fact that with 8RB "only" 6 out 60 died (feels awkward to put it like this, but don't know how else to say it), will have had to do with the work of Medical Officer Captain Willcox. He got an MC for what he did on the Le Bas Perrier Ridge.

    Last edited: Aug 20, 2019
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  9. harkness

    harkness Well-Known Member

    My Dad said it was his worst experience of the war; he wasn't alone:

    Geoffrey Bishop (C Sqr, 23H):


    August 7th:

    Last edited: Aug 22, 2019
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  10. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    Similar views by Don Gillate (fragment from his autobiography "With the 8th Rifle Brigade from Normandy to the Baltic"):

    Gillate on Le Bas Perrier.jpg
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