The D-Day Battlefields
GOLD Beach - Creully
This is the 4/7th Royal Dragoon Guards Memorial which stands on the outskirts of Creully close to the stream and its old watermill. This location was chosen for the memorial as the unit’s DD tanks, having driven 4 miles inland from the beaches on D-Day, assaulted the German-held defences around the village. Although the battle didn’t spill into Creully itself, the fighting in the surrounding countryside was fierce. The British prevailed and the village was liberated by ‘A’ Squadron before darkness fell.
Above: Sherman tanks of the 4/7th Dragoon Guards, 8th Armoured Brigade, advance through the Normandy countryside.
The memorial includes the Regimental Crest and a relief of a Sherman tank, panels of dedication and information on the 4/7th’s contribution to the Campaign in Northwest Europe during which it suffered 340 casualties including 124 fatalities. One panel reads `Take these men for your example. Like them remember that prosperity can only be for the free, that freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it.`Just of the main street is a plaque (not photographed) to the Royal Winnipeg Rifles who assisted in liberating Creully.
The main inscription on the Tank Memorial reads `In Proud Memory of the 4/7th Royal Dragoon Guards who Lived or Died in the Fight for Freedom, Landing in France September 1939, Withdrawing through Dunkirk June 1940, returning to Normandy to Assault King Beach La Riviere at H Hour on D-Day 6 June 1944 to Liberate Creully later that day and in due course assist in bringing the Fight to a Successful Conclusion. `Quis Separabit.``
The large chateau which towers above the village was built, as a residence rather than a castle, in 1035 but underwent various expansions and alterations, being converted into a fortress before it was captured by the English in 1356. Following the D-Day landings, the world was desperate for news and the BBC was one of the main and most listened-to sources.
After Creully was captured, the organisation’s war correspondents set up a broadcast studio in the chateau and transmitted regular reports which other stations across the world immediately redistributed. Canadian, American and French journalists also made use of the BBC’s facility at Creully. There is a small museum in the tower where the studio was situated but it’s only open July-September.
The view on the left above shows the Rue Bayeux, the main road through Creully which is packed with Allied motor transport. The vehicle in the middle-distance to the left is a Humber ambulance, and to its right, off the road, is a BBC vehicle perhaps used by one of the Corporations` war correspondents staying at the chateau.
Although not obvious in this low-res image, the spire of the church in the background is scarred by a number of large shell holes. Following Creully`s liberation, Allied troops soon adorned the village`s Great War memorial with British, French and American flags.
The Crusader gun tractor was a converted Crusader tank with the turret and superstructure removed. It was used as a prime mover for 17 pounder anti- tank guns.
The example shown here is moving down Rue Bayeux in Creully, past the E. Riding tobacconists shop and Girard Grocers shop. The vehicle has been named Duntocher, after the village in Clydebank, Dunbartonshire, Scotland, so I presume that`s where at least one of the crew originate from.
This vehicle has a wading kit installed. Additional steel plates have been fixed to the superstructure to increase the overall height enabling it to negotiate deeper water without getting swamped. This vehicle was part of the 91st Anti-tank Reg, Royal Artillery (ex 5 Battalion the The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, the unit became 91 AT Reg, RA in 1941). This regiment was part of VIII Corps.
Fairly close-by, at Chateau de Creully, Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery had his tactical headquarters where Prime Minister Winston Churchill visited him.
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